In a classroom at Waupaca High School, Gloria Gerlach discovered she enjoyed bookkeeping.
“Fran Gohla taught the general business, bookkeeping and accounting classes,” she said. “I always tell him he was such a great teacher.”
Since he is at Bethany Nursing Home in Waupaca, she often gets the chance to remind him.
When Gerlach was nearing the end of her high school days, she had a plan.
“I was never going to get married. I was going to be a secretary,” she said with a smile.
She smiled because she did marry.
Gerlach and her husband Chuck have two children – Salley and Andy.
Salley has one son, Zach.
Andy and his wife Heather have two children, Ethan and Emily.
Gerlach remained true to the other part of her plan.
For 10 years, she worked for Dr. Jim Duwell in Waupaca, going from a certified dental assistant to the officer manager.
On Sept. 11. 1989, Gerlach began working for the city of Weyauwega.
“I replaced Verona Fink,” she said. “I was hired as deputy clerk. I was deputy clerk for 20 to 21 years and then the city treasurer.”
After 23 years working for the city, Gerlach is now preparing to retire.
Chuck has been retired for a year, and she figures it is now time for her, as she turned 65 on Nov. 7.
“I told the city I would work full time through November and then one to two days per week through the end of the year and also through the end of January,” she said.
Gerlach explained how she became interested in working for the city.
“The position here was close to home,” she said. “I could walk to work and go home for lunch.” When she began working for the city, there were no computers.
“We did everything on big ledgers. They took up the whole desk,” she said.
Gerlach said there was one small computer, used for doing the quarterly water bills.
Nick Wohlt was the city administrator.
“Eventually, I converted everything to computers. I entered all the data – water customers, payroll,” Gerlach said. “It was a lot of work.”
During her first years with the city, she also took all the emergency calls for police, fire and ambulance during the day.
“I was dispatch. I had a little box for pressing the signal,” she said. “When I was done working, there was a little switch on the phone. I moved it, and all the calls were forwarded.”
Computers made life easier.
Gerlach also remembers the days when tax collection took place at City Hall.
“I did all the entries by hand. I worked lots of weekends. People would pay with cash,” she said. “Now, the county collects it all.”
One thing which did not change was the number of people walking through the front door of City Hall.
“I think people still like to come in person and pay their water bills,” she said. “What I liked about the job were the people. I’m really going to miss that. I’m just really going to miss the friendships I’ve developed over the years.”
It is easy for her to say what she likes about her work.
“I love the bookkeeping. I love to make sure things balance,” she said. “I know the computer programs in and out. All these things are in my head. It’s stuff you can’t just write down and tell them. But, they know where I live. They said they’re going to come across the street and get me.”
On Friday, Nov. 30, there will be cake and coffee at City Hall, to say “good bye” to Gerlach and “hello” to Trina Herbst-Gutche, who Gerlach has been training.
As for Gerlach’s retirement plans, they include spending time with Churck, visiting their children and grandchildren, reading and going to lunch with her friends.
“I’ll miss my job. I’ll just miss everything,” she said. “I’ve worked with a lot of great people.”