Posted: Oct 25, 2010 8:41 PM by Jeannette Hynes
Updated: Oct 26, 2010 2:05 AM
Norma Hatfield first took office as the Fremont County Clerk and Recorder in December 1972.
"It doesn't seem like 38 years and when you enjoy your work as I much as I have enjoyed my work, time passes very quickly," remarks Hatfield.
Back then, her husband had to convince her to run for the position.
"I said, ‘Really you know, I don't want to go. I don't want to run for office. I don't know anything about the office,'" remembers Hatfield.
Her daughter was 11 years old at the time and she wasn't ready to go back to work. Her husband convinced her she could do it, and she's been running the clerk's office ever since. She credits her staff. "We're just one happy family here," says Hatfield.
Many people here have worked with her for decades. They call her an innovator and rock of the office.
"She brings strength. She brings knowledge. She brings stability mainly," says Cathy Galves, who has worked with Hatfield for 38 years.
"It just won't seem the same without her sitting in the chair," says Susan Justus who has worked with Hatfield for 32 years.
Hatfield has always kept her office door open; something she says has given her a special connection to the people of Fremont County.
"I'm really going to miss meeting all of the people every day when they stop by to have a few words with me," says Hatfield.
Hatfield has decided to retire. She says at 83 years old, her health isn't quite like it was when she was 45.
"Yeah, I'd like to sleep in a little bit in the mornings," laughs Hatfield.
For the first time in a long time, her name isn't on the Fremont County ballot.
"When I see ‘clerk and recorder' on the ballot or hear it on the radio I say, ‘It's not me,'" says Hatfield.
November second will be her last election to conduct, but her first election still sticks out in her mind.
"One of the precincts didn't come until 11 o'clock the next morning, and that's when I approached the county commissioners about another election system," says Hatfield. The commissioners granted her the changes needed.
She's proud of the changes she's made and for a plaque given to her by the National Secretaries of State, awarding her for her service.
"It's going to be a real change for me and I don't know how I'm going to handle it, but there comes a time when you have to quit," says Hatfield.