The Finney County Courthouse soon will be without a combined 62 years of experience in trial court clerks.
Deputy clerks Novia "Mickie" Huckins, Glenna Grant and Karen Karle, are retiring at the end of the month. Each of them will work their final day on Monday. A reception in their honor was held Friday afternoon at the courthouse.
Court Clerk Christine Blake said that the loss of their experience will make it challenging, but she is happy for the women for getting the recognition they deserve.
"We're living day by day downstairs, and it's becoming very apparent how much they're going to be missed. When we had to write it down, we wrote down a list of everything they do ... It's a tremendous amount, and the knowledge they have is irreplaceable, so it's going to be a tough time for awhile. But we don't have any regrets because they've been great employees and they deserve this. They deserve a great retirement and to enjoy the rest of their lives without that stress," Blake said.
District Court Administrator Kurtis Jacobs described the three as the people who make the place run.
"Between them, there is 62 years of experience, and I can't replace that," Jacobs said.
Mickie Huckins has worked at the courthouse for 37 years, and her position is the most complex in terms of the types of duties she performs.
"I handle probate, small claims, marriage licenses, adoptions, state tax warrants, county property tax warrants, coroners' reports and autopsies, statutory bonds for construction projects," Huckins said.
Jacobs described Huckins as a jack-of-all-trades.
"She has a lot of those — they don't come up very often, but they're very specialized kind of responsibilities," he said.
Huckins said that she is a little apprehensive now that her last day is approaching, but she is looking forward to spending time with her husband, who has already retired.
"My husband's been retired for seven years, and I want to catch up with him. He's just been running wild all over town," she said, laughing. "I'll probably travel a little, do some church work and a lot of goofing off."
When Jacobs mentioned that there would be entertainment at the reception, Huckins asked, "Entertainment as in Chippendales?"
This evoked laughter from her fellow retirees, Karle and Grant, showing the bond that the three have developed over the years.
Karle, who is a criminal court clerk, said she is ready to do something different.
"Stay up late and get up late, sit around and drink coffee and not have to rush to work is going to be nice. I've got a lot of stuff I can do that I haven't been able to do for a long time. I like to play piano. I haven't touched the piano for years," she said. "I like to crochet. I'll probably do some of that and clean out closets and get rid of stuff, and maybe some traveling, I don't know. I'm not planning anything in particular."
She said she has seen a lot of things over the years that have had an effect on her.
"I think after you see so much of these things, you get to be really jaded about people, what they do, but I like it. It's probably the most interesting job I've ever had," Karle said, adding that her co-workers have been fun to work with.
"There's really an age difference, too. The youngest one down there is 26, and it's really kind of funny because they're in their 20s, we're in our 60s, and you wouldn't think that you'd be able to mesh, but you do. It's kind of a fun thing," she said.
Grant said she's looking forward to spending more time with her kids and grandkids, but also doing some painting and cleaning.
"I've really enjoyed working with these girls, the young girls, as well as these girls. I work the limited desk, civil, and it's just more bill collecting. I can't say I've made a lot of friends with the clients, not when they get a bench warrant from me," Grant said, laughing.
Huckins said that the three of them have formed a special bond over the years, helping each other out with procedures and job duties.
Blake said, "I think the court is going to be a sad place for a little while, without these three ladies. They're beautiful, strong women, and we need that. They're an inspiration — that you work at a job, and you're proud of that job."