Ponder Lee Geren Jr., cherished co-owner of Countryside Cafe, passed away on August 25th after a valiant 16-year battle with cancer. Despite being given just six months to live, Ponder's resilience shone through.
Together with his wife, Marlene, they upheld the 33-year tradition of making delightful meals, a legacy initiated by Marlene's parents, David and Imogene Green. Even amidst his struggle, Ponder's radiant smile greeted customers daily. As one regular noted, "It just won’t be the same without Ponder filling our glasses and cups with our tea and coffee." Still, the legacy of comfort food, from fried okra to sweet potatoes, will continue under Marlene.
Beyond his role at the cafe, Ponder was a talented artist with a personality that lit up the room. Bill Hullander, a family friend for over 50 years and proud owner of two of Ponder's paintings, shared, “God had other plans for Ponder and he lived another 16 years. Ponder was a cut up and enjoyed having fun.” He added, “[My wife] and I ate there often and enjoyed all his desserts including the strawberry short cake. It will be hard saying goodbye to our good friend but I know we’ll see him again someday.”
A celebration of Ponder’s life was held in his honor at City Church on Lee Highway. Ponder Lee Geren Jr. fought the good fight, kept the faith, and is finally home with his new body. He will be deeply missed.
Adapted from Chattanoogan.com.