Smitherman retires after 26 years with utility board

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Linda Smitherman has retired from the Maplesville Utility Board after 26 years.

She was honored for her years of service with a retirement tea on Jan. 30.

Several board members and the former office manager had talked to her about coming to work part-time for the board. The job became full-time about a year and a half later when Smitherman took over the office manager position when that person retired.

She said she enjoyed working with members of the community on a daily basis.

“We service four different counties, so there were even a lot of people from out of town that I got to know … There were a lot of elderly people that were customers, so sometimes I may have been the only one they got to talk to a week or a day at a time,” Smitherman said.

Over the 26 years of her career, the job has changed “drastically,” Smitherman said.

The utility board office was in the town hall building for most of her career, so she also filled in as needed to help the library and town residents who needed copies. The separate office was established about three years ago.

The office began using computers for billing early in 2000, yet some aspects of the office remained in paper, hard copy form.

“Up until this year, the end of 2017, I still kept books on a ledger,” Smitherman said. “My accounting was not on computer.”

Ongoing training to stay in line with new requirements was also a part of the job.

Smitherman has been in the position through four mayors and several changes on the town council.

She began considering retiring about a year ago.

Spending more time with and caring for family will be a focus for Smitherman in her retirement. She said she plans to help get her grandson to school, help take care of her mom and spend time with her husband, who is also retired.

Smitherman also said she will be available for her neighbors who may need help.

“Maplesville is a town that if someone needs help you have someone to call on,” Smitherman said. “You know your neighbors.”

Having the freedom to do what she wants to or does not want to each day is also an appealing aspect of retirement for Smitherman.

“I enjoy cooking and sharing with people in the town,” Smitherman said.

She plans to get back into walking on a regular basis.

“I used to walk three to five miles a day, and I have gotten away from that a bit,” Smitherman said.

She might also do some traveling.

“That’s what my plans are, but if God has something different,” Smitherman said.

Smitherman has lived in Maplesville her entire life.

She and her husband have been married for 44 years. The couple has two children and two grandchildren.