By Ralphine Major
Even before she became the familiar face in Dr. A. D. Simmons’ medical office, Edna Ritter Satterfield led a fascinating life. At a time when few young women went to college, the daughter of William Irving and Katie Idol Ritter attended Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) for two years from 1930-1931 and then taught elementary school for two years in Grainger County, Tennessee. She met her future husband, Buford Satterfield, at a singing school where he was teaching. They married on Buford’s birthday and afterwards became owners of a small grocery store. Later, they sold the store and bought a dairy farm in Union County and became farmers.
Alvis David Simmons was also a Grainger County native who attended LMU and began his career as a school teacher. He made a career change to the field of medicine and became Dr. A. D. Simmons who established a medical clinic in the rural community of Corryton, Tennessee. Interestingly enough, Edna and Dr. Simmons were also cousins! In 1957, Simmons offered Edna a job as the office assistant in his medical practice.
Rada, Doctor and Macel Simmons’ youngest child, shares her memories of Edna, known to the clinic’s generations of patients as Mrs. Satterfield. “I had the pleasure of working alongside Edna a few times for a couple of summers. She was an angel in my eyes,” Rada said. She added that Mrs. Satterfield had a sign in her office that read: ‘The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!’ I remember seeing that sign on numerous occasions. Rada shares more about the time she worked in her dad’s office with Edna. “I had to fill in one day when she could not be there for some reason (which was very rare); and I can tell you, a few folks did not take kindly to me and the fact that their Edna was not there,” she added. “They did not want to see a different face in that reception window!” For 17 years, Edna Satterfield was the familiar face at the check-in window, shaped like a half moon, at the Simmons’ clinic. She retired in 1974 and passed away in 2007 at the age of 95.
Words of Faith come from Psalm 118:1 (KJV), another of Edna’s favorite scriptures: “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever.”