Written by Patty Decker Monday, 31 December 2012 11:34
Carol Maggard, 65, is retiring as Marion County clerk this month after 16 years, but has spent a total of 27 years in the clerk’s office.
Maggard said she measures her time in the clerk’s office by the time she was married to her late husband, Dick.
Considering herself a Marion County native, Maggard and her family moved to Peabody when she was in the fourth grade.
“My mother and father owned a jewelry store in Peabody, which is now the bowling alley,” she said.
Following high school, Maggard graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and before from Mesa College in Grand Junction.
“I spent 12 years in Albuquerque, N.M., and came back for a class reunion, where I met with my best friend again from high school,” she said, referring to Dick. “He wasn’t married and neither was I at that point.”
Three months to the day after the reunion, Maggard said, she and Dick were married and she moved back to Marion in 1986.
Two weeks after returning to Marion, she applied for the deputy county clerk’s position and was given the job in 1985.
One of Maggard’s favorite stories about her late husband involves how much they both liked drama.
“We were both in the high school plays and when we were juniors we played husband and wife. The first play was ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ and we played Mr. and Mrs. Frank.”
As seniors they played Mr. and Mrs. Keller in “The Miracle Worker.”
“We were married long before we were married,” she said.
Running for office
Maggard ran for county clerk in 1996 after learning Marquetta Eilerts, the incumbent county clerk, decided to seek a commission chair.
“The very first time was nerve-racking,” she said, “because I was running opposed.”
Maggard said she campaigned nights and weekends, attending parades and candidate forums.
“(1996) was a big year,” she said, “because it was also a presidential year.”
After winning the position in 1996, she was unopposed in her next three elections.
“Even though it was easier to run unopposed, I still did campaigning and ads and spoke (to groups) if they wanted me to,” she said.
Maggard said she and Eilerts, who lives in Peabody, are still good friends.
When Maggard took office, Leon Suderman was the commissioner from District 1, but he later stepped down due to illness and Bob Hein completed the unexpired term.
Linda Peterson and Jack Bruner were also a commissioners at that time, she said, representing District 2 and District 3, respectively.
Other commissioners during Maggard’s tenure as county clerk included Howard Collett, LeRoy Wetta and the current office holders, Dan Holub, Randy Dallke and Roger Fleming.
When Maggard started in the county clerk’s office 27 years ago, there were no personal computers, she said.
“We didn’t have PCs, we had dumb terminals,” she said, “or at least that’s what we called them.”
For example, Maggard did payroll when she was first hired, and the software was a “total menu-driven” situation.
“That’s where the name ‘dumb terminal’ came from because it didn’t do anything on its own—unlike the Internet and Microsoft programs.”
Gradually, the county started acquiring more PCs.
“The county appraiser’s office may have had the first PCs, but the first one we got was used for the cemetery program,” she said.
This data base program was something Eilerts and a man from Tabor College started putting together, she said.
When Eilerts left office, Maggard continued working on it until it was completed.
“The program has every cemetery in Marion County actually physically read by the tombstone,” she said. “We would match up information by obituaries. It was a major information data file.”
Even today the program’s usefulness is vital with many inquiries for genealogy.
Maggard credits two part-time workers, Carol Sklenar and Rosalie Schmidtberger, for helping to finalize it.
Marion County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman said the first thing she thinks of when asked about Maggard is “a smile.”
“Her smile lights up her face and her eyes get that twinkle and, of course, you have to smile back,” Bateman said.
A part of Maggard’s personality that most people don’t see is her love of family and pets.
“She has many stories about the pet puppies and dogs lucky enough to have shared her life, and they always have the most unique names—like Scruggins,” she said.
As for her job as the county clerk, Bateman said Maggard has seen many changes.
“She has faced many challenges with fierce determination to do the job and do it right,” she said.
“For instance, when the county initiated the neighborhood revitalization plan, which involves the appraiser’s office, clerk’s office and treasurer’s office, we attended training and spent lots of after-hour time talking, planning and figuring out how to go from the idea to how to make the process work for all those involved.”
Roger Fleming said Maggard was instrumental when he stepped in as a new commissioner.
“My first year I was appointed chairperson,” he said. “Carol kept an eye on me and guided me through to make sure I got things done,” he said.
“She knows so much and is so gentle in many areas, even on giving her opinion,” he said.
Commission Dan Holub said Maggard is someone who cares deeply about Marion County.
“I remember calling the office at 7 p.m. some nights and she would still be there making sure things were on time or done right,” he said.
“She is quite a lady and will be missed.”