Local organist retires after almost 40 years

EAST MOLINE, Illinois-- Almost every Sunday morning Lucille Perley warms up the organ before the morning service at St. John's Lutheran Church.

She's been playing the organ at the church for more than 40 years.

"I was fifteen when I played my first worship service and I never wanted to get off the bench after that," said Perley.

Her mother encouraged her to play at a young age when she started learning piano.

"She would say things like 'Oh I can't wait until you're good enough to play the organ in Church and I said no never," said Perley

But after watching a woman play at her small town church she tried it out and got hooked.

"The holy spirit zapped me. That's really what happened," said Perley.

But after almost half a century of playing, Perley said it's time to give up the bench.

"I think I'm still playing well and I don't want to be the old lady that somebody has to shove off the bench," jokes Perley.

She's giving up her seat as well as her position as the Director for the adult choir.

"My choir has the most dedicated hardworking people," said Perley and is what she will miss the most after she retires.

Her last day was on New Years Eve, but church members wouldn't let her go without a party.

A reception was held after the service to honor for her time.