Daughter to work in late mother's place at annual dinner
For seven years, Jeanette and Jimmy Ketchum spent their wedding anniversary serving their church a breakfast dinner on Groundhog Day. The special fundraiser will continue on Tuesday in honor of the late Mrs. Ketchum, who died in June, at Bethel United Methodist Church.
The idea for the dinner came to the Ketchums when they visited her sister and brother-in-law in Colorado. Their relatives were already hosting a similar dinner at their church, and Mr. Ketchum said "they wanted to put the bee in our bonnets to start one at our home church." So they did, and it has become a church tradition.
Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum have a long history with Bethel United Methodist Church. Both were raised in the church, and it's where they first met, married and raised their children. Mr. Ketchum's grandfather was a charter member of the church.
The week of Groundhog Day is not only significant to the couple's anniversary, but it also includes both Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum's birthdays. The couple married a week after Mrs. Ketchum turned 18, and two days after their wedding on Groundhog Day was Mr. Ketchum's birthday.
On the days of the dinner, Mr. Ketchum recalls, people came from all over the community to the Groundhog Day breakfast, and sometimes they didn't have enough room for everyone, but they made do. For preparation of the breakfast dinner, Pastor Michael Wood said, the couple would spend their anniversary in the church kitchen cooking all day long.
"The kind of dedication they show to their church family is remarkable," Wood said. "It's something to be celebrated."
Every year, Mrs. Ketchum would organize the breakfast and then the rest of the congregation would pitch in right alongside her. This year Jeannie Conway, the Ketchums' daughter, will volunteer her services to help prepare for the breakfast with other ladies in the church carrying on the legacy of her late mother.