Norma Griffin is tearing herself away from a 64-year career of public service. The 83-year-old will retire on May 25, 2018, from her position as deputy assessor in the Daviess County Assessor’s Office.

While Norma was working for the county, she became mayor of the City of Gallatin for two terms from 1989-1993. Then she served several terms as the East Ward Alderwoman and was in this position from 1993-2004. Norma says two things stand out as accomplishments during those years: the dedication of the swimming pool, and the start of the position for a city administrator.

Norma Griffin retired from a 64-year career of public service in 2018, from her position as deputy assessor in the Daviess County Assessor’s Office. While Norma was working for the county, she became mayor of the City of Gallatin for two terms from 1989-1993. During this time Gallatin’s swimming pool was dedicated and the position of City Administrator was initiated and filled. She served as the East Ward Alderwoman from 1993-2004.

Norma started at the assessor’s office in 1982. With her retirement, a position becomes available and her replacement has not yet been found. Her advice to her successor is: “Show up and do what they ask you to do.”

“I knew it was time to retire,” Norma says. “It was time for a young person to have a job.” Norma says she will miss the everyday interactions with courthouse employees.

Norma was 48 years old when she started at the assessor’s office. Every year has brought different challenges, but the very first year saw the most dramatic changes. “When I started, everything was done with pencil and paper and by hand,” she says. “Then we switched to computer. I didn’t think I could ever do it, but I did.”

Norma has worked under three different assessors, Tom Everly, Betty Harmison and current assessor, Sally Black. Mr. Everly was the county’s first assessor, so Norma got in on the ground floor.

“Before Mr. Everly, each township had its own assessor,” Norma says. “Those 15 assessors would go to people’s homes to make their assessments and people would go to the assessor’s house to pay their bill; they had no central office.”

Before coming to the assessor’s office, Norma worked for the City of Gallatin for 20 years as the deputy city clerk.  She worked part-time and full-time for the city from 1954  to 1982.

Norma wasn’t really looking for a job when she came to work for the city. She had been a farm girl all her life.

Norma was born in Jameson. She had a twin sister, Nancy, and another sister, Dixie. “We were born at home,” Norma says. “Mom didn’t even know she was having twins.”

It was a cold and stormy night when they were born two days after Christmas in 1934. Those were horse and buggy days and the roads were muddy and rough. Dr. Harris made it out to the farm.

Norma weighed only three pounds when she was born and Nancy weighed four. The doctor told her folks that Nancy might live but Norma probably wouldn’t.

Her folks got a shoe box for each twin to lie in and lined the shoe boxes with cotton and put quart jars full of warm water around the shoe boxes. They kept the water reheated to keep the babies warm during the day. Then at night their father would hold the twins on his lap and sit by the wood stove to keep them warm. And that’s how they survived.

The girls attended Smith country school and went to Scotland Church. “With three girls, I was the boy on the farm and helped my dad in the field,” Norma says.

Nancy and Norma were identical twins but they weren’t exactly alike. Nancy was more studious and helped Norma (who preferred to be outside) get through high school at Gallatin. Nancy would eventually go on to college and become a lab technician. Norma says she was not ambitious enough to go to college. If she had gone to college she would have studied to be a music teacher because she loved to sing.

“My dad was a musician,” she says. “He played guitar at the country school Christmas programs.”

Norma married Vernon Griffin on May 16, 1953, and they moved to town. Dean Kinkaid was the city clerk. He called Norma and asked her if she was interested in the job as deputy city clerk. “Some people want to go to the city to seek adventure,” said Norma. “I wound up 15 miles from where I was born.”

Vernon served in the Army and spent two years in Germany with the military police. Norma and Vernon had two sons, Joe and James. Joe lives in Gallatin. James and his wife Sharon live in Springfield and have given Norma two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Norma and Vernon were together for 43 years when he passed away on May 30, 1996.

So Norma was 19 when she got married and 19 when she got her first job. She worked about 20 years for the city. Norma switched from working for the city to working for the county. “I talked it over with the boys and they thought I should take the job as county deputy assessor to see if I could learn anything new,” says Norma.

Norma says she’ll find plenty to do around home when she retires. A reception is scheduled from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, May 25, at the courthouse. “It’s gone fast,” says Norma. “It’s because of the blessings and grace of God that I’ve been able to serve the City of Gallatin and Daviess County all these years — for which I’m so thankful.

Norma Griffin, shown here in 1984, was the first woman elected Mayor of Gallatin. She also served as a city alderwomen and worked in the Daviess County Assessor office before retiring in 2018.