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Westside Workers


Olive Henderson holds up one of her afghans (lap blankets, as she calls them).   “I think I have made about 200 in the last couple of years.” she said in her English accent.


That’s a lot of knitted blankets!  Where’d they go?”  I asked.


They went to Parkland Memorial Hospital.  Henderson donates the afghans to cancer patients, to help keep them warm and as comfortable as possible during chemotherapy treatments and recuperation.  


That is a really nice gesture on Henderson’s part. When you learn that she is 92 years old, the knits and the pearls are more impressive.   


Pictured next to Henderson, at the sewing machine, is Katheryn Livengood.  Livengood is stitching “arm pillows” that she donates to Parkland for the cancer wing. 


However, the pedal on the sewing machine is not the only one 86 year old Livengood pushes. She delivers “meals on wheels” to those in need and she takes fresh produce from Acres Community Garden to North Dallas Shared Ministries.


Both Henderson and Livengood are members of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) located at 4711 Westside Drive in Dallas.  They call their two-team production line “Westside Workers.”  


Apparently these ladies don’t know when it’s time to quit.  They are working right into their golden years to give comfort to those who need comforting.


Knitting for others is nothing new to Henderson.  She knitted socks for the soldiers during World War II in her home in Glouscester, England.  She came to America when she was 28 years old. She married and lived in south Texas.


It was at a dance that she met her husband.  To this day, ballroom dancing remains one of the great loves of her life.    


She recalls dancing with Dallas’ restaurateur, Shanghai Jimmy (of Jimmy’s Chili Rice fame) on a T.V. documentary about Jimmy’s life.


Besides dancing, she enjoys word games like scrabble and crossword puzzles.  In her sixties, she learned to drive.


What she doesn’t like is cooking.  “I did it when I was married because I had to, but I quit as soon as I could,” she said.


Livengood was born in Independence, Missouri.   Growing up in the Midwest and being brought-up in a Christian Church, sewing and “doing for others” was a part of her daily life.


“I was literally raised in the church.  It was during the depression and my mother volunteered in the church kitchen preparing food for the staff and parishioners,” she said.


“In addition to cooking, my mother sewed all the time,” Livengood added   “Although I was influenced by her sewing, I actually learned to sew as a girl scout”.


After Livengood married and had children, she continued to sew for her family, making everything from clothes to a cello cover for her daughter’s instrument.


As well as stitching pillows for Parkland, delivering food and generally lending a helping hand at Central, Livengood’s busy life includes volunteering at the Audelia Road Library in Lake Highlands.


The ladies each joined Central Christian Church over three decades ago and they are an inspiration to the congregation and to the community they serve.


Fifteen years ago, during the Easter season, they began The Westside Workers.  And they don’t seem to be slowing down. You will find them at the church every Tuesday morning— knitting and sewing.



“How old are you?" "Ten," answered Tangle. "You don't look like it," said the lady. "How old are you, please?" returned Tangle. "Thousands of years old," answered the lady. "You don't look like it," said Tangle. "Don't I? I think I do. Don't you see how beautiful I am!” ~from The Golden Key by George MacDonald


If you have a member in your church or organization, or a friend or neighbor who has a story that needs telling, please email  BubbleLife may want to feature them in a future column.

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