Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 7, 2013

Tough good-byes for county offices

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — A couple of Garvin County offices have recently been in that tough spot of saying good-bye to one of their longtime employees who are more like family during their many years together.

One such occasion came earlier this week in the county court clerk's office as Judy O'Bryant leaves for retirement after many years of service there.

Another was in the county assessor's office as Donna Hunter also went into retirement after working there for more than two decades.

O'Bryant and Court Clerk Cindy Roberts both agreed her departure is more like losing a family member since they've worked together so closely for years in the office.

“It's like a big old family in there,” O'Bryant said.

“I'll come back and visit them; maybe bring them some cookies,” she said. “It was just time for me to leave and someone else to come in.”

“We're so close knit in this office,” Roberts said, “everybody has a role and everything fits in its place.

“Judy knows the routine, the do's and don’ts, and she's the one who teaches the newer ones how to do things right. She's the one they can rely on to give the right answers,” she said.

“In this office you've got to know what you're doing and the order it goes in.”

That's why experience, like that of O'Bryant, is so important in keeping things moving so smoothly in the court clerk's office, That's why, Roberts said, someone like O'Bryant will be missed so much.

“We're going to miss her,” Roberts said. “We all hope she has a wonderful retirement.”

O'Bryant, originally from Seminole, started her work in the office back in August 1996.

She earlier had come to Pauls Valley when she worked on the remodeling of the old TG&Y store here in Pauls Valley. She later worked at what is now Curwood before joining the crew in the court clerk's office.

Her plans are to stay here for now and possibly move to Ada to be closer to her son and his family.

In the assessor's office, also located in the county courthouse in PV, it was Hunter who officially left on Nov. 30.

Working for her third assessor when she left, Beverly Strickland, Hunter started in the office back in May 1990.

Much like the court clerk crew, Strickland said the small number of employees working together in the assessor's office makes it more like a family.

“We're kind of a family in this office, so it's a big deal to lose somebody that's been here so long,” Strickland said. “She's been here 22 years. Most of us in this office have been here a long time.”

Strickland says another big part of the loss is replacing an employee with the kind of experience of Hunter.

“There's lots of things you've got to learn in this office,” she said.

“It's hard to find someone with training in the area of legal descriptions and things that we do here.”