Nancy Bearden (Staff)

Nancy Bearden stands in front of a desk with a white cowbell to her left.

Every day that Nancy M. Bearden of Louisville shows up for work at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Winston County, she adds to a 56-year record as the longest-serving employee of the 138-year-old land-grant institution.

“I have worked so long that it just seems like this is my second family,” the Extension office associate said. “I don’t really have hobbies and I don’t travel, so this is what keeps me getting up in the morning and going and thinking.

“Along with my family, this job is my life.”

Bearden began her MSU career in August 1960. While numerous coworkers have come and gone over the decades, her workdays have taken place in just two locations. Before moving to its current home on Vance Street, the office was located on Main Street in the Winston County Courthouse.

Because she lives only about four miles from work in the house she and her late husband James shared, her daily commute is quick.  And, working directly with members of the public who come by for answers and assistance is another of the many pluses of her duties, she said.

“I think my favorite part about Extension is the fact that we strive every day to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Through the university, we help a lot of people in a lot of different ways to have a better life.”

That’s what keeps her coming to work year after year, she explained. “I don’t see what I do as a job, but as part of my life; I enjoy getting up and coming to work every day.”

In addition to being a Bulldog through and through, Bearden is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of two granddaughters who, with their spouses, five great-grandsons and a great-granddaughter also are Louisville residents.