On Dec. 18, 2011, Blondell Jeffers and Dr. E. Raybon (Ray) Rodgers invited family to an intimate dinner to celebrate their Golden Anniversary. The gathering took place where the couple first met, the former site of the Blaney School, which has since been transformed into the Old South Restaurant, Elgin.
Over the years, the restaurant has become one of the couple’s favorite gathering places.
Their romance began February 1, 1960, the first day Rodgers reported to work as a math teacher. The superintendent of district asked Miss Jeffers, an English teacher, if she would escort the new teacher to lunch. Rodgers recalls that it took two days for him to gather the nerve to ask her to go bowling. From that date onward, the couple was inseparable.
They exchanged vows 22 months later on December 23, 1961, at Central Assembly of God Church in Columbia, S.C., and said they felt blessed that many of the same family members were able to attend their anniversary 50 years later.
Both Jeffers and Rodgers devoted their careers to public education.
Jeffers graduated from Olympia High School and received her BA degree in English and her masters’ degree as a media specialist from the University of S.C. in Columbia, S.C. She retired from the Fort Jackson Independent Schools in 1995, after serving as the media specialist for more than 25 years.
Dr. Rodgers graduated from Mt. Pisgah High School in Bethune, S.C., received a BS degree in mathematics from Berry College and a masters in educational administration from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. He later received his Educational Specialist and Educational Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Rodgers retired from Richland County School District II in 1990, after serving for over 23 years as the district’s associate superintendent for finance and operations. Since retiring, he has served as an interim superintendent and associate superintendent of finance and operations for numerous school districts throughout S.C
Fifty family members attended the occasion, which began with a sentimental and playful recollection of the couple’s years together, delivered by a nephew, Leonard Jeffers Gardner, and was followed by many toasts honoring the couple. The opening prayer was delivered by Mr. D. Bruce Rodgers, the brother of the groom and a retired teacher from Cassatt, SC. The closing prayer was given by Rev. William Thomas Jeffers, the brother of the bride, and President of World Changers International.
As the evening came to a close, the couple posed for a photo next to a framed poem the bride cross-stitched in the early years of their marriage. Rodgers commented that it was one thing he still couldn’t read without experiencing tears of joy.
The couple currently resides in Lexington, SC.
Lump of Clay
Take a lump of clay,
Wet it, pat it
Make a statue of you
And a statue of me.
Then shatter them, clatter them
Add some water,
And break them and mold them
Into a statue of you
And a statue of me.
Then in mine are bits of you
And in you there are bits of me.
Nothing shall ever keep us apart.
Kuan Tao Shang