For 40 years, Mary Elder has been the face that visitors and locals saw when they stopped by the office of the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce at Lion’s Park where she would greet people, give directions and answer questions.
But on Friday, Aug.1, those who have worked with Elder over the years gathered at the Hampton Inn to say “thank you” to Elder, who at 86, is now retiring.
Chamber president Frank Ladd thanked Elder for her years of service to which former chamber director, Annick Pruett, quipped, “With Mary being gone, who’s going to keep Frank in line?”
Elder, who still lives in the same house she did when she was attending Rifle High School, has worked numerous jobs in Rifle, including restaurant work and at the Rifle Police Department dispatch for 15 years.
Retirement doesn’t mean she’ll be just sitting around. Elder says she has plenty of things to do.
“I’m going to keep busy,” she said. “I’m not a person to just sit around. I also volunteer at the senior center and help at my church.”
Her friends and co-workers only hope they can be as astute and active as Elder is when they get to be her age.
“Mary is my role model,” said Kathy Runia, manager of the chamber’s Information Center. “I hope I can be as sharp and on the ball as she is.”