Recorder of Deeds to retire
When voters go to the ballot box for the August primary, a familiar name will no longer be available -- Patsy Olvera. She has served in the Lafayette County recorder's office for the past 37 years, with 32 of those years as the Lafayette County Record-er of Deeds. Olvera was first elected to the position in 1982.
"I was a deputy before I was elected. I started in April of 1975 as a part-time employee and then progressed up to full time," she said.
In 1975 Marlene Martin, a deputy recorder, first piqued Olvera's interest in working for the office. She liked that the office was public and open in regards to the records available -- marriages, land and military discharges. Olvera said she loves working with the public.
"Robert Dryer was a long-time recorder here," said Olvera. "I came over and visited with him and was hired and loved it ever since."
She ran for the position of recorder in 1982 due to Dryer's retirement. Olvera said she felt she'd worked at the recorder's office long enough for her to run for the position. She said, as recorder, she's had a chance to see people grow up and take part with the happier aspects of peoples' lives ― marriages or buying houses.
"We get visitors for genealogy research ... from everywhere. I've had them from Hawaii, from all over the United States, to run the records for their ancestors," said Olvera, adding the office has land, marriage and deed records dating back to 1821.
Most of the visitors come during the summer and Olvera said it's a lot of fun when they visit. The most rewarding aspect of her position, she said, is helping community members when they come for assistance. She said she prides herself on being a public servant, not a politician.
During her time in office, Olvera said she is most proud of a memorial project for veterans at the Lafayette County Courthourse, in Lexington, of which she assisted. She has also received recognitions from the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Genealogical Society.
"I helped a lot with the veterans' memorial. The veterans that are on the wall they had to have a certified copy of their military record to buy a brick and so I had lots and lots of them," she said, explaining she loved the chance to hear the veterans' stories.
Olvera plans on spending more time with her family after retirement. She is married to Johnie and has two daughters, Traci Peterson and Staci Schorgl, and two grandchildren, Carter and Taylor. Along with spending more time with family, Olvera plans on doing some home improvements she and her husband have wanted to complete.