County officials, fellow staff members, family and friends celebrated the upcoming retirement of Jo Lynn Godkin from the Faulkner County Circuit Clerk’s Office after three decades of service.
Godkin, deputy clerk who oversees the child support division, started at the office in July 1989. Her last day will be May 31.
“There was one computer on the desk on the counter when I walked in [that first day] and I thought ‘I’ll never learn how to use that.’ I now have two screens and I don’t know how many programs that I leave up,” she said of the changes she has witnessed in the office over the years. “This just boggles my mind. We didn’t cut our teeth on computers like these kids today.”
Godkin said her co-workers have become a second family to her over the years.
“They’ve been with me through the death of my husband, that one right there having an aneurysm,” she said, pointing to her daughter at the reception. “I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without my actual family and my work family.”
The reception was full of laughter, tears and memories.
“It’s been a good place to work,” Godkin said, tearing up. “It’s like a family.”
Faulkner County Clerk Crystal Taylor thanked Godkin for her service and presented her with a glass plaque.
County Judge Jim Baker declared May 31 as Jo Lynn Godkin Day throughout the county with a personalized proclamation.
“Jo Lynn — who is a lover of dogs, a frequent and loyal Disney tourist, who is a joy to work with and is always ready for her next adventure … demonstrates a bubbly attitude and is always willing to help others in need,” Baker said. “Even though she can never be found at her desk, she is one of the most dedicated employees of the county once she’s found.”
Godkin interrupted “I have wanderlust.”
After the laughter subsided, Baker continued with the more serious part of the proclamation: “She is a symbol of the quality we hold dear in Faulkner County. The professional job displayed by her sets a great example for others to follow.”
In addition to Godkin’s relatives, members of her “work family” attended the reception to honor her as well.
Nelda Ussery and Bobbie West, who each started at the office within a couple of months of Godkin and retired within a year of each other, joined the party. Godkin started at the office in July 1989; Ussery started a month later in August 1989 and retired in June 2017; and West started in September 1989 and retired in March 2016.
Asked about her plans after May 31, Godkin said: “I have some irons in the fire.”