Shoney’s supervisors from 1976 to present came to show their respect for Teresa Cline, pictured, Eric Pirtle , Don Mc Wright, Larry Bowles, Bob Hartung,, Wayne Lady, Ronnie Stinson, not pictured but present, former supervisors, Glenn Gossard and Steve Hopkins and current supervisors, Barry Hesse and Bart Pickard
By Betsy Thorpe
Dozens of travelers leave I-40 at Exit 196 everyday, some to visit friends and family, others for fuel, refreshment or lodging. They all have a story to tell and we are here to share a tale or two that we heard at Exit 196.
Many readers of Exit 196 may not know that for the past nine years I have held a part time job as a server at the Shoney’s Restaurant located in Bellevue near Exit 196. Last summer my good friend and co-worker Teresa Cline suggested I develop a column designed to relate the experiences of the many interesting patrons who dined at our restaurant. Teresa, who took a keen interest in everyone she served would often direct me to an individual or group saying “talk to them they have a good story, you should meet them. ” On August 8th 2009 the column Exit 196 was launched and with Teresa’s help I was able to uncover and write many interesting stories relevant to our community.
On Tuesday December 29, Teresa unexpectedly passed away in her home. She was 52 years old. First hired by Shoney’s on August 8th 1973 at the age of 16 her employment with the company lasted throughout the remainder of her life.
During the Vietnam war Teresa’s father Glen Twyford served in the United States Navy. Teresa would often recall how when her “Daddy” called home she and her sister Shelia would laugh when they had to say “over” signifying the end of a comment, she also remembered refusing to say “over” when she knew their conversation was coming to end, hoping to prolong her time with her father.
Teresa was sensitive to the needs of others. She was especially kind to her Spanish speaking co-workers, always helping them find the services they needed to improve their lives. She loved little children and enjoyed watching her friends and customers babies develop and grow. A good listener Teresa was expert at picking out the perfect gift for birthdays and anniversaries. Former kitchen manager Antonio Gonzalez was especially fond of hamburgers, his favorite American food, and one year for his birthday Teresa custom ordered a cake replicating a huge hamburger. An animal lover, Teresa was known to rescue abandoned dogs and to feed the stray cats and geese that often appeared at the restaurant’s back door.
An avid supporter of the local community Teresa continued to shop at the Bellvue Mall long after it was announced that its demise was imminent. On October 24th Teresa helped to remove graffiti, pick up trash and beautify the community when she participated in the Bellevue Cleanup Day sponsored by her friends in the local Exchange Club.
The memory of Teresa Cline will continue and linger at Exit 196 where her friendship will be missed and her presence will be mourned. It is my hope that in remembrance of Teresa, those who were touched by her life will quietly remember her by extending a simple act of kindness toward a person or an animal, offering her a tribute that would greatly please her and honor her heart and recognize her life of service.