2016-06-10 / Front Page

Lynn Grace to retire after 37 years working with 13 Windsor town managers

By Tory Jones Bonenfant

Lynn Grace, set to retire on July 1 after working for the town for the past 37 years, holds a piece of paper listing the names of the 13 town managers with whom she has worked. — TORY JONES BONENFANTLynn Grace, set to retire on July 1 after working for the town for the past 37 years, holds a piece of paper listing the names of the 13 town managers with whom she has worked. — TORY JONES BONENFANTWINDSOR — Administrative Assistant Lynn Grace was cleaning out more than 20 years of paper files from her file cabinets on Thursday, June 9 in the Windsor municipal office. Grace, a 37-year employee of the Town of Windsor, will retire this year from her position as administrative assistant to 13 permanent and acting town managers.

After nearly four decades, what are Grace’s plans for retirement?

“As my husband would say, ‘Anything I want!’” she said.

Grace has lived in Cornish since 1978 with her husband, Larry Grace, who is retired. They have a grown son, Jeff Grace, who lives in Colorado.

“Summer will not be a problem at all,” as far as finding something to do once she retires on July 1, she said. With her love of gardening and plans to travel at some point to visit Jeff, she said the couple will take time to enjoy retirement.

“We won’t be in a hurry anymore,” she said.

Grace moved from Connecticut to Windsor in 1974, and was a stay-at-home mother for four years, she said. In 1979, through an economic development program that helped displaced workers who had been out of work for a while, she started working for the town of Windsor, staying for a year and nine months. When her program ended, she went to work at the former Vermont National Bank for four years.

“Then I got a call from Ruth Carney, the town manager at the time,” she said.

Carney, a former secretary who had moved up to the town manager position, asked Grace if she would consider coming back to work to be her secretary. Although she felt bad for leaving the bank, because the job at the town office was “a little more money, and a little fewer hours” and had a bit less responsibility at first, she took the job in 1979, and has been there ever since.

Grace said that over the last 37 years, technology has made things better, “but everything has to be done faster.” Rules and regulations have also multiplied greatly, she said. She recalls in her first few years, answering phone calls, taking down notes, using the typewriter and making carbon copies were a part of the regular workday, and at a slower pace.

“I’ve enjoyed working at the town office all these years,” Grace said. “The people of Windsor are great, and the people [in the office] have been fun to work with. I’ll most likely miss it”

Grace has also served as acting town manager on three occasions, she said, in the interim between finding new hires.

“The year was 1979, the Bee Gees were rocking the charts with ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ and Grease had top box office honors. Equally noteworthy, Lynn Grace started working for the Town of Windsor,” Town Manager Tom Marsh wrote in a recent town newsletter.

During her 37 years with the town, Bill Blaisdell, Doug Delano, Carney, Butch Smith, Harold Sanders, Paul Hughs, Jim Brewer, Dave Battastoni, John Schempf, Don Howard, Mike Farrell, Steve Cottrell and Marsh have all served as town manager, he said.

“Lynn has seen a lot and should receive a great deal of credit for helping to hold things together through good times and some pretty rough times,” Marsh said.

Grace said that a few of her favorite town managers over the years were Marsh, local resident John Schempf, and Jim Brewer.

“He knew what he was doing, and he was nice,” she said.

Cori Baptistella will work with Grace through the end of June, and will take on the position of administrative assistant upon Grace’s retirement, Marsh said.

Grace will have a retirement party at 7 p.m. Monday, June 20  at Harpoon. All are welcome, according to Marsh.

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