‘I’ll be 90 years old!’ Beloved McFadden Community Center receptionist to retire

As soon as the doors open, it’s pickleball at the McFadden Community Center in Murfreesboro. If anything defines McFadden more than the noises of pickleball paddles, it’s the sound of receptionist Barbara Wallace answering the phone up front.

“Barbara is the nicest lady you’ve ever met,” said one pickleball player. “She knows us all by name.”

“She’s just a mother hen,” added another.

“I’m 89,” Barbara smiled. “I’ll be 90-years-old in August. My husband is 91. He’s sitting over here listening to me, wanting to add something to it probably.”

A lot of people at McFadden know how good a cook Barbara is, especially that hot water cornbread.

“Well, I’m gonna cook you some,” Barbara said. “You’ll get to eat some of it. Yep.”

Barbara’s whole life has been looking after people.

“When I was about five or six years old, I pulled a chair up to the stove,” Barbara said. “I would cook breakfast for my family.”

She was a coronary care unit nurse for 35 years. At her job at McFadden, she took an interest in the after-school programs. She started cooking good meals for the kids on her own. It’s not her job. Husband Dorris said that’s just Barbara.

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