Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The End of an Era

Today I attended Darlene Hamilton's retirement party at the Seattle Public Library. If you've done ANY genealogy research in Seattle, you've probably met Darlene. She has served as a genealogy librarian at the downtown Seattle Public Library since 1971--40 YEARS!
I can remember back in 1979 when I started working at Seattle City Light and needed something to do with my lunch hours. I used to ride the elevator through the old SeaFirst building and walk across the street to SPL and the genealogy desk on the first floor. Darlene pointed me to some great resources I may not have found without her assistance, especially the Boone Family Association files. What a windfall! And all those CDs the library used to have. I found all sorts of useful information in them.
One speaker at Darlene's retirement party today estimated that she had helped about 250,000 people in her 40 years at the library. I would submit that she helped EACH of those people with kindness, congeniality, patience and efficiency. She's probably broken down more brick walls for patrons than anyone else in Seattle!
What's perhaps more amazing is that Darlene has sat on the SGS Board for 40 years. That means she's sat through over 400 Board meetings without even having a vote. Darlene has been the "corporate history" of SGS for all these years and I, for one, have relied on her to tell us when we're trying to reinvent the wheel (so to speak). I can't imagine what we're going to do without her, but I sure hope she'll come back as a volunteer after she's finished kicking up her heels a bit.
Thank you, Darlene, for all you've done for Seattle genealogists and for genealogy in Seattle!

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