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Evelyn Baughman and Debbie Dotson

Personnel Profiles

Evelyn Baughman and Debbie Dotson

Two district office secretaries look forward to retirement

Two of Extension's longest running secretaries are entering the luxurious world of retirement. Evelyn Baughman (Northwest District) and Debbie Dotson (Southwest District) will both retire on Jan. 1, 2012.

Evelyn leaves after 22 years of service and Debbie is retiring after "30.222" years with Extension.

Evelyn began her career with Extension in 1990 as the Fayette County Extension secretary. After almost 10 years, she transferred to the new Central District office (now known as Northwest District) on the Griffin campus in 1999.

Debbie joined the college in 1982 as an accountant at the Rural Development Center in Tifton, Ga. She worked for three years with Ed White and Billy Selph before transferring to Ag Economics where she worked as a secretary for five years with Don Shurley, Keith Kightlinger and George Westberry. She made her last move to the Southwest District Office as an accountant and later an administrative specialist. She has worked in the district office for more than 22 years. Over that time, she worked alongside nine district Extension directors (Gene Grimes, Paul Johnson, John Parks, Darell Dunn, Jim Fountain (interim), Larry Willingham, Lamar Martin, Tony Roberts and Ken Lewis).

Evelyn and Debbie both say their favorite part of working with Extension has been assisting county offices with their every day county operations. Of all the calls and office visits Evelyn has fielded, the craziest involved a young man with a backpack.

"I really didn't think much about the backpack until he asked me if I could identify a snake or tell him if the snake was poisonous. I asked him if the snake was in the backpack and before he answered me he began to unzip that backpack. I don't think I have ever moved that fast in my life, as I am terrified of snakes. I asked him very politely if he could please take his snake outside and I would have the Extension agent come out and take a look at his snake. My family tells everyone that when I see a snake they believe I could walk on water, because I'm moving so fast and I start making this strange noise and they know I have just seen a snake," she said.

Evelyn has seen, and lived through, a lot of technological changes over her career with Extension. "When I left the work force, there were very few computers back in 1977 when I quit work to raise a family," she said.

She trained for three months to learn how to use a computer before joining the Extension staff in Fayette County. "Boy, it was great not having to retype a whole letter if you made one little mistake! I now find myself in another time warp with i-phones, i-pods and smart phones and I feel exactly like I did back in 1977. I find the need to go back to school! My son still gets irritated with me when I can't remember how to get my pictures off the digital camera and on my computer! That is the time you realize it's time to retire and give it over to the younger generation."

Evelyn was raised in Hapeville, Ga., home of Chick-fil-a. She and her husband Harry have been married for 40 years. They have two grown children, Jason and Lisa.

In retirement, Evelyn plans to relax and do whatever she wants to do for two to three months. Then, she plans to start volunteering and focusing on her health. "I love to read and would like to spend more time just sitting around with a good book. I also would like to start sewing again, maybe sewing on a few "baby" clothes would be nice," she said.

Debbie was born and raised in Tifton, Ga. She and her husband Larry have been married 39 years. They have twin sons, Chris and Chad, and five grandchildren.

Debbie plans to spend her retirement "spoiling those five grandkids." She also plans to continue to enjoy cross-stitching and teaching pre-teen Sunday school classes and music classes.

(Written by Sharon Dowdy, a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Released December 2011.