Frances Cotterill, the steady, quiet hand at the Mason County Clerk's office for 29 years until her retirement in January 2011, died Thursday morning.
Cotterill began her career with the clerk's office in 1974, working on a part-time basis; by 1978 she was employed full-time.
She was elected to the position of county clerk in 1982, and guided the office through many changes.
When Cotterill announced her intention not to seek re-election in 2010, she said she had seen a lot of changes during her career, particularly in the area of technology.
She said when she stared at the clerk's office, voters used the old lever-style voting machines; now those votes are cast electronically.
She also remembered when computers were first used to record motor vehicle information, a precursor to today's scanners and databases for research purposes.
Not only did Cotterill lead her office in the transition from paper to electronic votes, she also implemented new handicap accessible guidelines when the Help America Vote Act took effect in January 2006.
The legislation mandated each voting precinct insure accessibility for all voters in the election process.
Another special project under Cotterill's leadership was preserving paper records dating to 1789 stored on the third floor of the former Mason County Courthouse.
Through the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives' Local Records Program, Cotterill secured two grants totaling $20,000 to provide salary support for an employee to sort through the records, organize and index them on acid-free folders for storage at the clerk's office. The program not only helps preserve the vital documents, but moving them to the clerk's office has made them more accessible to the public.
In August 2012, the clerk's office received its third KDLA Local Records grant in the amount of $10,200 to continue the project.
Mason County Judge-Executive James L. "Buddy" Gallenstein, referred to Cotterill as a "quality individual" many times when called for comment on her passing.
Gallenstein said he has been a personal friend of Cotterill's for more than 30 years, and said he was fortunate to have been judge-executive while Cotterill served as county clerk.
"She will be missed across the state ... the people of Mason County should know her tenure of over 28 years was above reproach ... she is looked upon locally as a high quality leader," he said. "I'm going to miss her. It's a sad occasion for Mason County, they've lost a good citizen and the state has lost a good citizen. Her quality as an employee is rare ... she was so proficient at what she did."
Services are 11 a.m., Monday at St. Patrick Church in Maysville with visitation Sunday at Brell and Son Funeral Home.