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Star Prairie clerk Johnson retires

Members of the Village of Star Prairie Board recognized Clerk-Treasurer Patsy Johnson for her many years of service to the community at the board meeting Wednesday evening, Feb. 7. Back row, from left): President Chad Peterson, Trustee Dan Scheeringa, Trustee Craig Matthys; (front row, from left): Trustee Chris Boardman, Trustee Dustin Howe, Incoming Clerk-Treasurer Patricia Maus, Johnson, Village Attorney Tim Scott, Village Maintenance Operator Nathan Licht. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

It is becoming ever more rare these days to be able to say the face of government for a community is one person. As you might imagine, this phenomenon is only evident in small towns and villages across our country. For a lot of people who choose to live in those small towns, that face is emblematic of why they chose to live there, the opportunity to know your neighbor, face to face, family to family, faith to faith. There is more than "charm" to a close-knit, caring community. There is a warmth and contentedness and sense of belonging that grows from sharing history.

Patsy Johnson has served at the municipal Clerk-Treasurer for the Village of Star Prairie since 1995, 23 years. She was appointed to fill out the term of Thelma Mahanna, who had resigned after being hired to fill out the term of Mary Lou Smith just about the time the village board had voted to combine the elected clerk position and elected treasurer position into one appointed position.

Johnson has lived in Star Prairie for 42 years, attributable mostly to her marriage to her "soul mate," Bruce A. Johnson, a long-time resident. What made her marriage to Bruce a little more unique was he was also her boss serving as a trustee on the village board.

Patsy has been that face that everyone would associate with the Village of Star Prairie not just because she handled your utility bills, building permits, dog licenses, burning permits , notarized your important papers and performed the myriad of other responsibilities that fall to the clerk-treasurer, but because she had a smile, an aptitude and a love for her work.

"No two days were ever the same. There was always something new to learn, the satisfying feeling of daily accomplishments and keeping the trustees informed. The small-town atmosphere and friendliness of the village residents made it a great place to work," said Patsy.

Having lost Bruce in July 2014, Patsy brought to a close her service to the residents of the Village of Star Prairie and its board of trustees on Feb. 23, 2018.

Patsy concedes there have been too many changes to recount over her 23 years of service but the thing she will miss most is the opportunity to work with such a wide variety of people and making all of those professional and personal connections.

Patsy shared a bit of parting wisdom gained from her years on the job, "Have the best attitude. It's the first thing people notice about you. And learn something from everyone you meet."

Johnson asked to share this letter with community members.

Village of Star Prairie Residents, Board Members and Colleagues:

I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to have served as the first appointed and certified Municipal Clerk, Treasurer & Utility Clerk for the past 23 years. It really does take a "village" to organize, manage, pay attention to every detail and achieve the many challenges on this journey.

During my years of service, I have enjoyed working with and learning from many professionals, colleagues and board members. I especially want to thank the following people for their leadership, knowledge, teaching skills, and support over the years; Village Presidents Roger Larson, Helen Demulling, Greg Gibson and Chad Peterson; Village Trustees Janet Knutson, Jim Pflueger, Tom Peterson, Dave Burmeister, and the late Gary Peterson; Village Maintenance Operator Brody Larson; Village Police Chiefs Scott Knudson, JD Richard and Steve Lewis; Village office assistants Trever Gibson and Catherine Hayes; Village Attorney Tim Scott; Village Engineers Angela Popenhagen and Jim DeBenedet with Stevens Engineers; Village Accountants Rob Ganschow and Don Betthauser with Wipfli; Cindy Campbell, St. Croix County Clerk and Mike Burke, Town of Star Prairie Clerk-Treasurer

I would also like to give special thanks to an amazing individual, my late husband and Village Trustee Bruce A. Johnson. Having your spouse as your boss was interesting and unique; the day would usually start with him firing questions at me. I would reply..." can I at least have a cup of coffee!" Truthfully it was his supportive work ethics, his infinite knowledge and perspective that I am very grateful for.

I wish all of you every success for the future.