CLEARFIELD – In a world where people change jobs often and when staying with one for more than a few years seems unusual, it is interesting to find someone who has been a part of their work for not just years, but decades.
Friday marks the end of an era of sorts for the Clearfield County Sheriff’s Office when Marilyn Hamm will say goodbye to a position she has held for more than 40 years.
Hamm began working in the county offices in February of 1973 under Prothonotary Archie Hill. In January of 1974, she moved to the sheriff’s office when John Anderson was elected to the position.
She said in the Prothonotary’s office, she worked under Helen Wrigley, the chief clerk there, and whom Anderson referred to as “Aunt Helen.”
When Anderson was elected, one of the women who already worked there was leaving and Wrigley told Anderson she had the perfect replacement, Hamm.
She has remained in the Sheriff’s office since then and Friday completes 44.6 years of working for Clearfield County.
Hamm said she has worked for four sheriff’s altogether. In addition to Anderson, there was Carl Rowles, Chester Hawkins and now Wesley Thurston.
She said she learned to be tough and to stand up for herself working for “a bunch of guys” in the office. But she has also made many friends she will miss, and met many interesting people in the county offices as well as in the public.
There has been a question as to whether or not anyone else has ever worked for the county as long, or longer, but Hamm said so far she hasn’t been able to find anyone.
When asked if there are any memories that stand out, at first Hamm said that there were so many things that she couldn’t think of anything specific. But then she recalled when Judge Paul Cherry had been “held hostage” in his courtroom.
She said she was on maternity leave at the time and heard the report on the radio. “I thought, what a time to be away from work!”
Another memory was from the 1980’s when there was a big trial and several inmates from across the state had to be brought in. They were subpoenaed by the defendant and Hamm described them as “really hard core.”
As a result, the courthouse was shut down, but she and the other clerk in the sheriff’s office still had to come in, as the office was to remain open.
As a result, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper was assigned to each of them and stayed with them through the day.
She said there are other things that come to mind, little things that don’t seem very important but are things that she won’t forget, such as when the first time the clock was installed, and then later taken out when the union was organized.
She also recalled when they expanded into two offices. The deputies now all use the original sheriff’s office and the clerks are in what was originally the commissioners’ office.
Over the years, Hamm said, other things have changed as well, notably the workload. She said when she first worked there in the 1970’s, they would have maybe three sheriff sales a month. Now there can be as many as 20-25 a month.
“I really enjoy the girls I work with,” she said. “I’ll miss them.”
So, what plans does Hamm have for the future? “Everyone says I’m going to Disney,” she laughed, but in truth, she and her daughter and husband are planning a week in Florida to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Then, she said she might finally get to some neglected house-cleaning.
And she plans to spend time and help take care of her mother, who will be celebrating her 95th birthday in November. Hamm said she is very healthy and her mind is good. “We have a lot of fun with her!”
“People say I’ll be bored,” she added, “but I don’t think so. It might take a while to sink in.”
Some things she is looking forward to include not having to set the alarm clock, or having to hit the snooze button. “And I’m glad I don’t have to drive this winter!”