The phrase "lifelong learner" just may have been coined for Betty Auld.
For years she taught math to eighth graders in the Chickasha school system. But when she retired in 1986, she wasn't done with teaching - or learning.
She looked around for new educational opportunities and found Rural Neighbors, an Oklahoma Home and Community Education group in Grady County.
"I joined because they were so active in the community," Auld recalled Tuesday before the group honored her at a brunch as part of OHCE Week. "They were serving in all areas of the community."
She was especially drawn, she said, by the monthly lessons - a "continuation of education," she calls it.
And the fellowship.
A quarter century later and Auld is still awed by the OHCE experience and the fellowship she finds among its members.
Also attending the brunch were members of Auld's Sunday School class at First Baptist Church.
She's been leading them on a spiritual journey for 16 years - ever since she agreed to step in as a substitute.
She even achieved a measure of fame in OHCE by designing the organization's state emblem. Judges selected her design as part of a statewide competition.
"The emblem is a circle suggesting the continuity of life in our state, our homes and our community education," she wrote. "The single candle symbolizes the unity of goals and purposes of our organization. The candle emphasizes the saying 'It is better to light just one little candle' and through unity light the world. The edge of the seal has 77 bits of light between the cogs, representing all the counties of Oklahoma. This all forms a work wheel that our members have put their shoulders against and thus turns our world into a better society. Standing behind the candle is our great state of Oklahoma."
She's expressed her artistic side in other ways, as well, painting in oils, acrylics and watercolor. Her paintings have been used for the covers of books written by a local author, illustrations for a church cookbook and to grace the homes of her friends. She has also taught watercolor classes to children attending the Baptist School of the Arts, extending to young minds love of both art and the Word of God.
Over the years, Auld has served both as Rural Neighbors and Grady County OHCE president.
Auld earned her bachelor's degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and her master's from East Central University. Whle teaching in Chickasha Public Schools, she was president of the Chickasha United Teachers Association. Since retiring, she has also served as president of Retired Educators, as well as Delta chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota, a national teacher organization.
Auld and her late husband, Thurman, moved to Chickasha in 1965 and built a home here the following year. It was here that they raised four daughters, two of whom still live in Chickasha.
Liz Lowe taught seventh graders in Chickasha for 10 years and is now retired. Her twin, Deb Porras, lives with Auld. She taught Spanish here for five years. Auld's other daughters are Sharon Tinder of Virginia and Kim Sizemore of Colorado.