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Half a century of service
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For Sarah Greer Prosser, hard work has always just been a way of life.

"Much is given to you and much is required," said the 93-years-old Prosser. "I don't feel like I have done anything special. I like to work."

For more than 50 years Prosser has taught in some form or another at Mansfield Baptist Church, but like all good things, her tenure had to come to an end.

"I wanted to be able to walk out," Prosser said of her retirement. "I did not want to have to be dragged out."

Prosser joined the church in 1919 when she was just 5 years old. Originally from Griffin, Prosser moved to Madison with her family looking for a better life.

"Believe it or not, Mansfield was a boom town because of railroad at the time," she said.

Like most parents, Prosser's mother wanted more for her daughter than she had, so education was always important. Through connections, Prosser was able to attend Tift College and earn a four-year degree while others struggled though the Great Depression.

"People hear about that time, but you just don't know how depressed it was," Prosser said with a laugh.

During her summer vacations, Prosser would return to Mansfield and teach part time at Mansfield Baptist Church.

 After graduation, she returned to the area and began her career with the Newton County School System.

For more than 33 years, Prosser taught in the NCSS including elementary and high school classes ranging from history and government to English. While teaching at the public schools, Prosser also found time to teach Sunday school classes at the church.

"I have enjoyed all I have done," Prosser said. "I guess I had to learn how to juggle."

Her first Sunday school class was a small class geared toward young adults that she said exploded in size after World War II as men returned home from overseas. By 1960, the class had become so big, the men and women split into separate classes.

Prosser would later become the church director of Sunday school and was not supposed to teach.

"But one of the teachers backed out so I had to teach anyway," Prosser said.

Years later, Prosser was a leader in the church's growth as founding organizer of the nursery library. Before her retirement, Prosser taught an older adult class at the church.

"I just felt like I was obliged," she said. "I grew up with work. It was what was expected of us."

During all this, Prosser also found time to raise a family with her late husband James. The pair have two sons, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She also has a host of other relatives around the area from both the Greer and Prosser families.

"I've got more relatives than you can shake a stick at," Prosser said of her extensive family tree. "But I'm about the only one left of my generation."

Having lived through two world wars and the Great Depression, Prosser has become somewhat of a historian and a living link to the past. Though she has no problem sharing her wealth of knowledge, Prosser is now ready for a different role in her church community.

"I've got to learn how to be a member of a class now," said Prosser.