Marie Dofflemyer to Retire After 37 Years as Secretary to the Superintendent
In 1965, J. Owen Long, Director of Federal Programs, convinced a young secretary at the Welfare Department to come work for Rockingham County Public Schools where she would serve as a secretary for him and for Superintendent Wilbur S. Pence. Thirty seven years and five superintendents later, Marie Dofflemyer remains as the pleasant voice at the other end of phone calls to the superintendent. Marie has served as secretary to Wilbur Pence, Forest Frazier, Ryland Dishner, Dr. David Andes, and Dr. John Kidd. "They have all been different personalities, " said Marie, "but they've all had the best interests of the school system at heart."
On June 30, Marie will retire. What plans does she have? "I really don't have any big plans because I've never done anything except work," confessed Marie. She has no plans to take up soap operas but did say that she hopes to spend more time on the front porch in the swing while her husband, Clark, who has already retired, occupies the rocking chair. "Maybe we'll get to know each other better" she laughed. She does plan on spending lots of time this August at the Rockingham County Fair, reading, being with her grandchildren, and watching sports. And she will be happy to not have to travel down US 33 on those snowy wintry mornings.
Marie's North Carolina accent has followed her from her days in Henderson, North Carolina, to Elon College to Virginia. "The phone numbah is fowah-three-fowah..." she tried to give to one bewildered gentleman before explaining "one, two, three, fowah," But she's sure to miss the good natured ribbing about her drawl from her coworkers. "It's the relationships that I'm worried the most about missing." she said. "I almost feel like I'm going to be missing part of my family...but I do want to get out while I'm still healthy and feel that I can still do a good job."
Marie has seen lots of changes pass through her desk: new school constructions, school building closings, open classrooms, and computers. She confesses that she had a bad case of computer phobia. Dr. Kidd gently prodded her into using her computer, and she quickly caught on. From her beginnings in the 1960's with a Royal manual typewriter, typing stencils and running them off on a mimeograph machine, Marie now is quite proficient at using MS Word, e-mail, and the Internet. She routinely posts documents to the web for school board meetings.
Other significant changes that Marie remembers were the closing of Bergton Elementary School and the merger of Elkton and Montevideo High Schools. She remembers her job of splicing instructional video tapes to be sent back to the State Board of Education, when the School Board office was in the Courthouse, when the School Board copier was room size, and when the total number of secretaries in the Central Office was three.
Anyone who has phoned the superintendent's office will recall that pleasant, friendly voice. "It's not always easy to be so pleasant, but I've tried hard to listen and talk to everyone kindly....and then to vent after saying good-bye!" she laughed.
Rockingham County Public Schools salutes Marie Dofflemyer for her many years of faithful, competent service!