Archived Story

The final record:Years of change highlight Metcalf’s 35-year career

Published 5:03am Monday, July 1, 2013 Updated 7:11am Monday, July 1, 2013

When Wendy Metcalf first applied to work in the county recorder’s office, the only requirement was the ability to write in cursive. Employees still wrote in tract books back then, long before the days of office computers.

Many other things have changed over Metcalf’s 35 years with the office. Now, there is one more: She is leaving.

When asked if it will be hard to leave on her last day, Metcalf showed a mixture of emotion.

“It is and it isn’t,” she said. “I just figure it’s time for me to move on.”

Metcalf spent the past 21 years as the county recorder. She took over the job after a previous vacancy and never once had to campaign to keep the position. She said she considers herself lucky to have been unopposed for so long.

She started in the office at 22. She had heard about an opening through a network of friends and decided to apply. A good job with decent hours and benefits was too good to pass up at so young an age.

Having noticed the longevity of the employees in the office, Metcalf started working her way up immediately. She felt the interesting work with local and area residents made the hard effort and extra detail worthwhile.

“I campaigned the minute I got in the door,” Metcalf said with a laugh. “There’s always something different. You always had people coming in. The days were never really the same.”

Metcalf said she still remembers the busy days of tract books and Xeroxing documents. In 1997, she said a monumental change came with the introduction of computer systems. The next big thing will be e-recording, a process that will nearly phase out paper usage.

But even through all the change, Metcalf was known to run the office well. At her retirement party earlier this week, a number of county employees, officials and community members came to congratulate her on a job well done.

County administrator Larry Krohn, who worked with Metcalf for many years, spoke highly of their time together.

“She was great at what she did,” Krohn said. “She ran a good operation in terms of service to the public. She was always very fair with any issue.”

With her grandchildren around her while her retirement party emptied, it was easy to see Metcalf will dedicate much of her time to family. She has six grandchildren and two sons who grew up in Fergus Falls, where she was raised and went to high school. She said she will also spend much of her new free time with her husband, who is retired from Otter Tail Power Company.

“We’re still young enough to enjoy life and do things,” Metcalf said.

That will include fishing local lakes and motorcycle trips. The two have planned rides to Wisconsin and to Deadwood, S.D.

As time progresses, she said she will miss her dedicated staff, the large number of people she worked with around the county and the position that kept her busy for so long. But, at a new stage in her life, she is excited about what’s to come.

“When I’m at home I might think one day that maybe I do miss this or that, but not now,” she said. “It went fast. Time just goes.”

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