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Sharpsburg collector finds retirement less taxing

February 19, 1997

JENNYLYNN BROWN

Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - In one sense, Maxine Campbell had celebrity status. People approached her at home, at church - even on the street. But they weren't asking for autographs. They were asking about their taxes.

Campbell retired last month as the tax collector for the town of Sharpsburg - a position she has held since 1976. Campbell said the decision wasn't too hard to make.

"There's more paperwork, I'm older, and I feel I can use my time in better ways," she said. "A tax collector does a lot more than just collect taxes."

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Campbell, 75, collected real estate and personal property taxes, received bills, worked with mortgage companies, took money to the bank and produced monthly reports. "I had no idea it would last this long," she said.

During the Feb. 3 Sharpsburg town meeting, Campbell was awarded a dark wooden plaque with gold lettering for 20 years of service from Mayor George Kesler and the town council. "I don't think anybody could have done a better job," he later said. "She always had answers and a smile."

The recognition ceremony was a complete surprise for Campbell, said Debbie Jamison, Sharpsburg's new tax collector. "Her jaw dropped. She had no idea because there was nothing on the agenda about it," Jamison said. "She told me her first thought was, `Oh my goodness, what have I done now?'"

Campbell, who loves plants, also received a 30-pound potted Peace lily. "I'm glad the town recognized everything she's done here," said Jamison, who was trained for the tax collector position by Campbell. "She's been a real fixture in this town. She's done so much for everyone."

Retirement may be a step away from work, but it's not keeping Campbell away from the Sharpsburg community. "I don't want to sit and ponder," Campbell said. "I like people. My jobs throughout life have always been with people. Community service will be one of my main objectives."

In the 1950s, while volunteering for the American Legion Auxiliary, Campbell met Jane Bowzer, who became a lifetime friend. "She's so active and friendly," Bowzer said. "They're going to miss her badly in town."

Over the years, Campbell held offices in the auxiliary's local unit, as well as the district and state chairmanships. She plans to attend the state convention in July.

Campbell also makes time for church activities. At Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg, she serves on the altar guild, schedules lectors and works with the women's group.

Campbell said her husband has always supported her decisions, and that's why she's where she is today. "Most everything I ever wanted to do, Bob said, `Ok, if you want to do it, it's up to you.'"

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