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Boonsboro Town Clerk and tax collector Barbara Rodenhiser retiring

July 14, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Boonsboro Town Clerk and tax collector Barbara Rodenhiser is retiring after 35 years and is looking forward to getting remarried and traveling.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO — When Boonsboro Town Clerk and tax collector Barbara Rodenhiser started her job nearly 35 years ago, she said Boonsboro was a laid-back agricultural town that had a fraction of the traffic it does today.

Rodenhiser prepared town residents’ utility bills by hand back then, and her office was in a tiny building on St. Paul Street. A cat came around in the mornings and she let it in the window so she could feed it.

If that sounds a bit like Mayberry, “It was, in essence,” Rodenhiser said.

Rodenhiser recalled when she was an emergency medical technician with the local ambulance company in about 1980.

Sometimes, a member of the ambulance company would stop by town hall and ask Rodenhiser if she had some time to help out on a call.

Rodenhiser said if there was not a lot going on in the office, she would hang a note on the door saying the office was temporarily closed and dash off on the call.

“There were two desks. One phone downstairs, one phone up in the police office. Same line. If someone was on the line up here, you couldn’t talk,” said Rodenhiser recalling the layout in the old town hall building.

After more than three decades on the job, Rodenhiser has decided it is time to retire.

On July 27, Rodenhiser will hit her 35-year anniversary and after she works her last day on July 31, she plans to spend two weeks at her Ocean City, Md., mobile home, an experience she said has been hard to come by while working full time.

Rodenhiser prepares water and sewer bills for Boonsboro residents and makes up bills for the town’s water customers in neighboring Keedysville, among other duties. She also mails out the town’s property tax bills and collects the revenue.

Rodenhiser said she did not retire sooner because she likes working. But now the 65-year-old Boonsboro native says it’s time to move on, and she is looking forward to getting remarried and traveling.

Rodenhiser said she met Sykesville, Md., resident Terry Rankin through mutual friends and discovered Rankin grew up in Williamsport. Rodenhiser said she and Rankin, a retired insurance agent, plan to purchase another house and split their time between that residence and her Boonsboro home.

Rodenhiser said when she started her job, she prepared town residents’ water and sewer bills by typing them on an electric typewriter weeks in advance.

Now, with her computer, Rodenhiser can print a little more than 1,300 bills in 15 minutes.

Rodenhiser has lived in Boonsboro her whole life, except for when she attended a fashion-merchandising school in Baltimore.

She met her first husband in Baltimore and had daughter Mary Anne. But Rodenhiser got a divorce and moved back to Boonsboro. She still lives on Lakin Avenue, the same street on which her parents lived when she was growing up.

Rodenhiser recalled some of her memories of town hall, like when she used to dress up for Halloween. One year, she dressed up as KISS rock ’n’ roll band guitarist Paul Stanley.

“I always had a lot of fun,” she said.

Rodenhiser’s penchant for felines, including the one she used to let into the building during the winter when it was cold, led to an awkward moment.

One day, former Boonsboro Mayor Stu Mullendore, who did not know about the cat, came to the office to sign checks, Rodenhiser said.

“Where’s the kitty?” Rodenhiser recalled Mullendore saying.

“I turned red. I said ‘what kitty?’” Rodenhiser said.

“He said to put the money in,” Rodenhiser recalled.

Current Mayor Charles F. “Skip” Kauffman Jr. praised Rodenhiser for her dedication to the town. Kauffman said it was always advisable not to get behind on town utility bills, “or else you would be hearing from Barbara.”

Kauffman said Rodenhiser will be missed, but he understands her decision. Kauffman said he plans to retire from Brook Lane in December after 40 years of service.

“Life goes on,” Kauffman said.

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