Lillian Bumpus served 42 years in Memphis education, and many of her students remember the seeds she planted today.
MEMPHIS, Tenn — When Lillian Bumpus entered her classroom decades ago, she was doing more than going to a job she was planting seeds in young lives.
“I wanted them to know whatever you do, it’s going to come back to you,” said the former 1st grade teacher.
Many of her students still remember this early lesson.
“Everything that I am now I know that this lady implemented those things. I appreciate her, I love her and she is so deserving,” said Diane Austin, who was in Bumpus’ 1st grade class at the then Hamilton High School, which at the time taught 1st-12th grade.
“There are not a lot of educators as many as there are teachers and as an educator, she teaches you for your lifelong experiences as well as in the classroom,” said Austin.
Bumpus poured into the minds of young students for 42 years in Memphis City Schools. Austin said the seeds her teacher planted are still rooted today.
“I called her and now I keep up with her,” shared Austin. “I found out I’m not the only one who does that, she has several other students who call. But I am her favorite,” she laughed.
Bumpus started teaching at Hamilton in 1956, first instructing at Sunday School.
“Another thing I tried to do was let them know that they were loved,” said the former instructor. “Even when I fussed at them I would tell them you know I love you, if I didn’t I would say okay baby that’s alright don’t worry about it.”
Bumpus, an avid Grizzlies fan who previously held season tickets for 20 years, is now enjoying her time with family and is planning to celebrate her 87th birthday this summer.
Even after retirement, her thoughts are still on today’s students.
“You just say a little prayer for them because these are different days and times and we just want only the best for them and I’m sure the best will come back,” Bumpus said.