After 32 years with the same agency, the first employee of the Roberson Insurance is finishing up her final month before retiring to spend more time with her family.
Jackie Roberson, who is married to the nephew of Roberson Insurance founder Del, left another agency in Benton where she had worked for 14 years to work at the agency when it was new three decades ago.
“I have been blessed,” she said. “The Lord has been good to me.”
She started out in the insurance industry when she was 19. She had lost a job at a collections agency. A job with an agency came up and she took it in 1972.
“It fell in my lap,” she said.
The next year she took a job with the Thomas Agency in Benton so she could be closer to home. She had worked with her Del at that agency before he left.
When he opened Roberson Insurance, she joined him.
She said she laughs about it now, but those first weeks she really thought she had made a mistake leaving her job. As a person who doesn’t like idle time, it worried her that she would be done with her work by noon and just be answering phone calls the rest of the day.
That slow period did not last. Each day the pair got more business.
“It didn’t take long for the business to grow and to hire another employee,” Roberson said.
Hiring another employee is what made her realize she had done the right thing.
Now the agency employs 13 people.
As she retires, she is the office manager, a commercial agent and manages agents who sell personal insurance.
She has lived in Benton for 56 years. Her family moved from Georgia for her father’s job when she was young.
She and her husband, Ed, have lived in the same home for 40 years where they raise their sons, Blake and Adam. Her sons both are civil engineers who still live in Benton. Between them, they’ve given Roberson seven grandchildren who attend Benton schools.
“I am so blessed because they live here,” she said.
Roberson and Ed will have been married 45 years next month and have attended Sharon Missionary Baptist Church for 44.
Her favorite part of her job has been working with people.
“I’ve gained a lot of good friendships and a lot of customers,” she said, adding her friends always say she knows everyone.
As a mother of two, she has always been grateful that working with Roberson Insurance, Del always allowed her the flexibility to be there for her children to attend school and sporting events.
“Del has always been a very family oriented person,” Roberson said. “It has been a great place to work.”
Now she follows her grandchildren’s sports, which she plans to do even more once she retires.
Taking over her position will be Kaci Vance, Del’s granddaughter. The pair have been working together to get ready for the transition. She will handle most of Roberson’s day-to-day duties.
Producer Mark Prewitt, who has been with Roberson Insurance for 18 years, will help with some of Roberson’s longest term clients.
She has no doubt all their clients will be well taken care of.
“I don’t leave with any hesitation,” she said.
She has reached out to many of her long term clients to let them know personally about her retirement. They are happy for her but sad to see her go.
In her retirement, her main goal is to spend as much time as she can with her family, including her three retired siblings.
She would also like to travel with her husband and do volunteer work.
Anyone wanting to wish her well can stop by 421 N. Market St., from noon to 2 p.m. Friday for a drop-in reception. She will visit with her former clients.
Her last day will be March 29.
“I am thankful for the years I worked here and the opportunities I have been given,” Roberson said. “I enjoy and cherish the relationships and friendships that I have been blessed with in working in the agency.”