BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
PETERSBURG — Working in the radiology department of St. Petersburg General Hospital, Evelyn McCullough has seen many families walk through the hospital’s doors. According to her coworkers, each family that she attends to receive the same smile, warm touch and professional care. It’s just the way that she is.
McCullough is always willing to help others. Sometimes it may be lending a helping hand and other times with encouraging words. Rarely, if ever, has anyone seen an anger side of her.
Although she can be stern when necessary and will redirect misbehavior, she has brought 49 years of her loving ways to the medical field, spending 36 at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Now, it’s time for her to go.
More than 100 family and friends gathered to celebrate this living legend’s retirement at a banquet held at StayBridge Suites on Oct. 27. The mood was as smooth, easy and comforting as McCullough behavior and attitude often is.
“We are going to miss Evelyn in a big way, and as a matter of fact, we have already missed her,” said one of her former co-workers while fighting back tears at the evening tribute. “Her presence reassures us that things are well.”
The evening’s guest was a mix of former coworkers, church members, friends and family. Her daughter, Janielle McCullough, served as the mistress of ceremony while daughters Monica McCullough, April Bradley and daughter-in-law Alexandra Kachinski greeted the guests and handed out special treat tickets.
The small chatter in the room spoke loudly of each person’s fond memories and experiences with the McCullough family. When her husband, Janomi McCullough, spoke of his fondness for his wife and the to-do-list that he has already received from her, you knew her retirement was well underway.
Several of the guests shared their fond memories. Vernell Carter told of the long-lasting relationship with the family and the admiration she has for McCullough as a mother who cares deeply for her children.
One thing is known, if you ever wanted to see the “other” side of McCullough then mess with one of her children. She and her husband both share that sentiment.
Godsister Izella McCree shared years of touching memories. When the McCullough sisters got together or traveled, McCree was right there with them. She even played the role of trusted caretaker when McCullough wanted to return from maternity leave, but Janielle, the youngest child, was still very young.
Retirement for McCullough does not mean that she will be sleeping in until midday. For the past 10 years, she has gotten up at 5 a.m. to go to early morning boot-camp exercise class before heading to work.
McCullough is a senior participant at Florida’s Elite, a high-intensity fitness club. Her instructor, Melissa Roland, said that she does every exercise and keeps up with the youngest members. She has no plans on stopping her exercise routine.
McCullough said she retired from her job, not her life. There are still plenty more adventures awaiting her in retirement.
To reach Dexter McCree, email firstname.lastname@example.org