Queen for a Day
Pat Marler gets royal treatment on final day of 30-year career
Co-workers and friends declared Pat Marler “queen for a day,” last week on the advent of her formal retirement. Actually, Marler operated under the title – with all of its adornments such as a crown, scepter, cape and throne – since December when retirement planning began.
She also sported a stylish purple and red striped cane the past three months as she recovered from knee surgery. “I wanted to make a statement,” she said of the unique cane. “I just didn’t want to look old.”
Marler, a 30-year ITD employee, was humbled by the outpouring of well wishes and congratulations and by the full house that greeted her in the Headquarters auditorium Friday (Jan. 30) morning.
“You never know what effect a tiny, tiny act will have on a child. Maybe what I’ve done here – a lot of tiny acts and treating people nice – will have an impact,” she said while packing the remainder of her career into boxes for a final departure.
Her ITD imprint dates back to Aug. 21, 1978, when she became a secretary for the planning division. After about five years, she transferred to the Division of Motor Vehicles where she worked as a senior secretary for 18 months. She then migrated across the hall to take charge of central filing and the mailroom in what now is the Headquarters break room.
Marler’s responsibilities included opening every piece of mail the department received and directing it to the appropriate person or office.
Much has changed since her arrival at ITD.
She traded her IBM Selectric typewriter for a desktop computer. The building’s lone copy machine has been replaced by a number of sophisticated copiers with automatic-feeding, duplexing and collating capabilities. The Division of Transportation Planning offices have gone through two major remodels, and several division administrators have come and gone, along with about a half-dozen department directors.
Yet, one thing didn’t change much. The office Marler occupied for the past 13 years was only steps away from the station where she began.
What kept her coming to work for 30 years and six months? Security and jobs that she truly enjoyed. “I will miss the association with people, especially the people in planning,” she admitted. They’re really great people.”
Those people, including several former division administrators and supervisors, turned out in droves to say good-bye Friday. A standing-room-only crowd was on hand to figuratively kneel before the queen. Marler sat in a makeshift throne, with a crown, red, purple and white cape and a scepter. Colleagues adapted the “queen for a day” theme from a coffee mug Marler’s daughter gave her several years ago that proclaimed, “It’s good to be queen.”
“It’s hard to be the center of attention,” she admitted. “There were just so many people in the auditorium. They did a tremendous job organizing the party. It was great.” Guests included her husband Dan, a computer systems engineer for Conveyor Engineering of Eagle, and about eight other family members.
Credit for the party goes to Inez Hopkins, chief organizer, and her team of Judy Rogers, Glenda Fuller and SonnaLynn Fernandez who began planning the event in December.
Marler expected to greet her first day of occupational freedom by meeting with daughter Dianna Johnson Monday to do “mom and daughter stuff.”
The retired queen also looks forward to spending more time with her favorite activity – acrylic painting. The past quarter-century she has perfected the painting of intricate details of nature – flowers and animals – on a variety of surfaces. Marler’s office became a mini-gallery of her work, displaying about a dozen paintings, until they were removed to make room for her successor.
She hopes to spend time painting with a Russian master this summer in Boise.