Shannon clerk to call it quits after 34 years

SHANNON – More than 34 years ago, Mary Lee Helms took a part-time job as the town clerk in her hometown of Shannon.
At the time, Helms had no idea how long she’d be there, but as it turns out, she’s served six different mayors, dozens of board members and thousands of people who have come in and out of City Hall.
And now after three decades, the 65-year-old Helms is ready to call it quits – almost.
Helms plans to retire in March, but turning her work over to someone else won’t be easy.
“I’m definitely going to miss it,” Helms said as she finished her workday before the Christmas holidays began.
“I love Shannon and I love the people here, so it’s not going to be easy for me to just retire, but that’s what I plan to do. I was born just two blocks from Town Hall and I’ve lived in Shannon my whole life. So I know these people and they know me.”
A lot has changed since she started her job in 1976. The workload has increased and so have her duties, partly because the town has annexed twiceMike Tonos 12/26/09 annexed or been annexed, as originally said since she’s been clerk.
But for Helms, more work has only made her job more enjoyable.
“I don’t mind the work,” she said. “I enjoy working for the people here. We have a great community, so it’s not hard for me to come to work everyday.”
Helms said she likes almost every aspect of her job, but she does enjoy some things more than others. One is bookkeeping.
“The books are my baby,” she said. “I’ve been doing them for so long that they have become that way for me. I just love working with numbers and that’s what keeping the books are. I am very protective of them, so that is the part of the job I’ll really miss. The biggest thing I’ll miss is working with the people. They have really made this job worthwhile for me.”
After 34 years in the same job, Helms has at least one definite plan for her spare time – catch up on her rest.
“I gotta admit that I’m going to sleep late quite a few days when I retire,” she said. “I definitely won’t miss getting up early everyday.”

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

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