New Windsor clerk is about to start his 46th year in the job 'I just fell in love with this town' NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

December 31, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Like everyone else who spends Dec. 31 promising to change some facet of life, after Jan. 1 New Windsor Town Clerk Richard Warehime will go back to doing the same things he's done for years.

This year, he didn't even try to make his normal resolution to retire from the position he has held for the past 45 years.

"When the present mayor [James C. Carlisle] was elected in 1989, I told him I'd stay on for two more years and then I'd retire," said Mr. Warehime, who will begin his 46th year as clerk tomorrow. "But he kept coming to me and asking me to stay longer, and I did.

"I had no idea it would last anywhere near this long," Mr. Warehime said. "I just fell in love with this town."

A love for town government had nothing to do with Mr. Warehime's appointment to the job on Jan. 1, 1948, he said.

"The whole deal was made as a gentlemen's agreement," said Mr. Warehime, 70. "The then-mayor, George Hoover, came over to the feed store where I was working, told me I was a good, honest guy and asked me if I wanted the job."

"I didn't give a whole lot of thought to it at first. I was only going to make about $100 a year," Mr. Warehime said. "But I had a wife, two kids and the house to take care of, and I figured I could use the money to buy a little something for them."

The job Mr. Warehime took for a little spending money turned into a full-fledged career, even as his full-time work as a salesman came and went.

"I worked for the feed and fertilizer company until 1950, and went to work as a fertilizer salesman for a Baltimore City company until I began working for the Automobile Association of America in Westminster in 1967," Mr. Warehime said.

"But until I retired in 1982, I had been working both those jobs, one as hard as the other," he said.

Mr. Warehime; his wife, Mary; and daughter, Caroline, moved to New Windsor on Thanksgiving Day 1947 and he became the town clerk less than two months later.

"I settled into it and it became like ritual," Mr. Warehime said. "I have only missed two town meetings in all these years."

He hasn't missed much else, either, considering the organizations in which he's participated since his arrival.

Mr. Warehime is a charter member of both the New Windsor Lions Club and the volunteer fire company. His son, Ronald, a Baltimore County firefighter, now serves with the volunteer department.

Caroline Smith, his daughter, is an assistant manager at Union National Bank in Westminster.

"He's been unselfish with his time and always uses his energy toward what he thinks is best for the town," said Julia Cairns, a town resident. "He takes an interest in the town's well-being beyond the call of duty."

As town clerk, Mr. Warehime has worked with six mayors and nearly 30 council members. He has watched his duties expand from paying the water bill, dealing with a few letters from citizens and taking notes at meetings to overseeing the sewer system, paying more complex bills and taking care of zoning matters.

His pay has risen to between $5,000 and $6,000 annually.

"There is a lot more paperwork now then there was, but times change," Mr. Warehime said. "I used to spend five to 10 hours a week on town issues, but now, it's 25 to 30 hours."

Mr. Warehime is a walker, and residents are used to seeing him walking outdoors, said Mayor Carlisle.

"He walks every day; you see him out there speaking to everybody he knows, which is just about everybody in town," Mr. Carlisle said. "Even when the weather is bad, he walks around his basement, for exercise."

Mr. Carlisle said he remembers buying feed from Mr. Warehime years ago.

"I'll tell you he has been an asset to New Windsor since the day he arrived," said Mr. Carlisle, who, as a farmer, had used Mr. Warehime's feed store in the past. "As a salesman he was always friendly. He accommodated his customers and got along with everyone."

"To a mayor, he's your right-hand man," Mr. Carlisle said. "You can always call him to get the answers because he knows this town."

Mr. Warehime said that while he enjoys his job, eventually the torch must go to someone else.

"This simply can't go on forever," he said. "I have to stop it sometime. I mean, I'm getting too old for this sort of thing."

But the mayor, whose term ends in May, isn't willing to let the classic clerk go so easily.

"Why should I let him retire?" Mr. Carlisle said. "He knows all the ropes around here, been here so long.

"He's like a permanent fixture here."

Mr. Warehime's "pride and joy" is New Windsor's War Memorial, dedicated to the town by the Lions Club under his leadership.

"It's a little small, but it stands out quietly," said Mr. Warehime, a World War II veteran, as he looked down at the three slates inscribed with local veterans' names. "Not bad for a small town, is it?"

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