Retiring employee looks back over 44 years with Fillmore County

LuAnn Hoff spent 44 years working for Fillmore County in various departments, including the court administrator’s and sheriff’s offices. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/NEWS LEADER
By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

LuAnn Hoff spent her career in a timeshare where the scenery never and always changed.

“I split my time equally between the court administrator’s office and the sheriff’s office for 22 years, and for another 22 years, I was court administrator,” Hoff recalled. “While I was court administrator, I spent the last eight years as court registrar. I kind of needed a change of scenery, so I applied to the sheriff’s office and transferred over there…it was the same people, just a different end.”

Hoff has recently retired from her career after spending the past 44 years working for the people of Fillmore County.

She started working for the county after working a short time at IBM in accounts payable.

“I got a call from Fillmore County asking if I was still interested in being clerk of court, and while my husband, Greg, probably thought I was crazy because I had to take a cut in pay, I was gaining back all the time commuting, and I spent all my time working in Preston,” she said. “My kids were in school in Preston, so if they got hurt or sick, I could get there. I guess I just never had a desire to move on. I took a job at the clerk of court’s office in 1974 — that’s now the court administrator’s office — as deputy clerk, and then I was appointed the probate registrar for the last eight years in that office, and I transferred to the sheriff’s office in 1996 and was the person in the front office.”

She described what an office support specialist does, noting, “My current title was office support specialist senior, and I was where the customers came in. I did all the paperwork, sent copies of reports and CDs to attorneys, did wages and bank accounts, bookkeeping for two accounts, got papers ready to be sent to be served to people. It was secretary-clerical. I had to be sheriff’s matron sometimes — riding along with female inmates sometimes, and on very rare occasions, if the dispatcher had to leave, I had to answer the phone, or I might have to answer someone on the radio.”

The introduction of technology to the courthouse and county offices completely overhauled how work is carried out, Hoff remarked. “Technology transformed my job. When I first started, the county didn’t have computers, and when we got them, you had to wait one minute for each screen to print, and now, I do it click-click-click and if it takes longer than a second, you’re annoyed,” she said. “And when I started at the sheriff’s office, they still had the dot matrix printers, so to finally get a laser printer was awesome. Everything looked so much more professional.”

Her years in the courtroom or the sheriff’s office have acquainted her with numerous people who taught her valuable lessons and were good friends.

“When I was court administrator, I worked with the mothers of several people I graduated with, and that kind of made them mothers to me, too,” she said. “There were judges I worked with and coworkers I’ve liked…some of them are no longer alive. I worked for two court administrators in my years there — George Milne and Jim Attwood — and three sheriffs, Jim Connolly, Daryl Jensen and Tom Kaase.”

Hoff’s decision to retire arrived quite unexpectedly, but she determined that it was right. “One day, I was just sitting at my desk…Greg and I had been talking about retirement…and I got up and walked in, told Tom, ‘I think I’d like to retire.’ It was one of those moments that I just knew. My husband has been weighing whether he should do the same.”

She’s got plenty to keep her busy in retirement, including a growing family, travel and flower gardening.

“I’m going to miss my Fillmore County family, but I think I’ll be keeping busy,” Hoff said. “I think I’m going to enjoy retirement. I’ve got a new granddaughter whose mom is a schoolteacher, so they want me to babysit in the fall, and I like flower gardening. I’ve been getting interested in genealogy, and my husband and I like stay-cations – jumping into the car and going through all three states, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and maybe we’ll go on longer trips if he retires.”