Thursday, June 11, 2009
Minor retiring from Extension Service
By SUE WATSON
The person who accepts the position as office associate with the Marshall County Extension Service will have some mighty big shoes to fill.
Mary Minor, who has served as secretary with the Extension Office since 1996, is retiring June 30.
Retired county agent Ronnie Jones, who now serves as president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau, said the office associate’s duties are far-reaching in the impact they have had on the county and its image since Minor has been in the office.
“Mary was very instrumental in helping the Marshall County Forestry Association in putting together materials (documentation) to win awards,” he said.
He said the office associate’s position is an increasingly important job and one that Minor filled well.
“They meet the public and are the first contact a lot of times that a new customer has with Marshall County Extension Service,” Jones said. “Mary is very much a detail person and sees that things are done properly. Through her efforts the county has received recognition through the cattleman’s and forestry associations. It's because of her documentation and intense work.
“There’s more to the office here than meets the eye. Mary has done not only exemplary work but has gone beyond the call of duty.”
Minor graduated from Potts Camp High School in 1959.
“I’ve been out of school 50 years and have worked for 48,” she said.
Her first job was with Brown Printing in Holly Springs where she learned much about bookkeeping, the publishing and printing business and much more from the late Wilbur C. “Red” Brown. In 15 years with Brown, Minor learned about layout and design, typesetting, finishing work, press setup and ordering all supplies - a multitude of tasks.
Her life has continued in that vein as she accepted more responsibility in each endeavor. A shy person who never joined in any click in high school, Minor said working with the public for 48 years helped her to overcome her shyness and helped her launch many interests and to enjoy being with people.
“People helping people is what Extension is all about and that’s what I’ve loved,” she said of her years with the Mississippi State Experiment Station and Marshall County Extension Service.
She joined the Experiment Station in 1982 working under superintendents Bill Arnold and Joe Johnson, then in 1996 began working under Jones, county agent. After his retirement, Minor answered to county extension director Janet Jolley.
Of the many hats and tasks Minor has worn and kept track of, her duties have included working with the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers, the Marshall County Forestry Association, the Marshall County Cattleman’s Association, the Marshall County 4-H Club, the Family Nutrition program, Reba Bland and Leadership Development Area Agent, and working with other area agents.
She is a member of the Northeast Regional Secretaries Association and serves as secretary and a member of the statewide secretarial association and serves as reporter.
In her role as secretary, she does some accounting, handles routine correspondence (“everything you can think of”), plans schedules, coordinates events (association meetings, educational seminars, workshops), writes news articles, and more lately acted as photographer for these events. The Extension office has 300 active clients on its mailing list that just includes the Cattleman’s and Forestry Association members.
Minor grew up Mary Ruth Gurley, third child of 11 children born to Mary L. Gurley and H.U. Gurley of Potts Camp. At the time she went to Potts Camp School, there were 21 Gurley children in school, 10 the children of her father’s brother, and there were other Gurley cousins, too.
She has been involved in many activities -- civic, church-related and public.
Minor served three terms on the Potts Camp board of aldermen - 12 years beginning in 1989. She has been active in church work serving as a teacher and as president of the Women’s Missionary Union at First Baptist Church in Holly Springs. She was a member of the Pilot Club and served one term as president and in other capacities.
At Potts Camp, Minor helped found the Ruritan Club, a service organization. She served as clerk of the Marshall County Baptist Association for 19 years and as a church treasurer, clerk, Sunday School teacher and Training Union teacher.
Now she is active in the Potts Camp Methodist Church.
“Work has played an important part in my life over the years,” she said.
She said helping people create their reality has been what she has enjoyed most whether it be at work or in civic involvement.
After June 30, her last day at the Extension Service, Minor expects she will go back to some hobbies she has not had enough time for over the years. Sewing is on the top of her list, but she also has a long-held active creation of historic scrapbooks, and loves yard work and baking to share with friends and family. Some travel within the United States may be in the works for her.
Personal scrapbooking is an extension of the types of scrapbooks Minor has kept for her associations and agencies at the Extension Service. And she has kept a kind of daily journal of activities, like her mother, which she may consider using to help write her story. She already has a “My Story” type of memoir on computer that she could work on after retirement.
“I’ve got numerous Town of Potts Camp scrapbooks,” she said. “It’s information I’ve gathered over the years since I moved to Potts Camp in 1988, leaving Holly Springs.”
Some of the scrapbooks she has created include those on themes such as church, family, town, a celebrity scrapbook, a John Grisham book that includes clippings and pictures she has collected from attending 10 of his book signings, a book on the movie “Cookies Fortune” that was filmed in Holly Springs, a Jan Karon scrapbook, and school reunions (about 20 years of scraps).
One thing that is pretty sure, Minor will have an active “retirement.”
For one thing, she expects the Extension office to be calling for help with events. But she is serious about retirement.
“I actually thought the word retirement would never be in my vocabulary, but there comes a time when you need to move on and not have any deadlines to meet,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed working with the office personnel. I’ll miss coordinating activities for the agents. Some of them said I’m going to help them out. But we’ll see. I want to retire but still be involved in some things. I am going to take it as it comes.”
Minor has also worked in insurance, and real estate, as well as printing, office supply, newspaper, and office management.
She is going to miss some of that day-to-day bustle. But maybe not too much.
“I’ve just enjoyed working with people. My life has been around people,” she said. “I will miss everybody. I’ve been responsible over the years in setting up events, calling classmates and keeping track of the elderly in Potts Camp. I think the Extension brought that out a lot in me.”
The public is invited to a retirement party for Mary Minor set for June 30 from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority.
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