Sunday, March 22, 2015
Arlene Gresham’s 1980 retirement from Troy City Hall essentially closed the doors on a gone-by era in which women played multiple roles as the silent partner to men in charge.
Over the almost twenty years Arlene worked at City Hall, she ran the City Manager’s offices, functioned as a purchasing agent, personnel accountant, and City Council secretary.
“You spend more time with your work family than you own family,” Arlene said in an article celebrating her retirement, published by the Daily Tribune on February 4, 1980. “It’s a big change. I’ll miss them all here.”
Arlene and her husband Oscar – who took an early retirement from Chrysler management in September 1980, planned to devote most of their retirement time to golf and to their cottage up north.
As Troy’s “Unsung Hero” from 1960 – 1980, Arlene is credited with:
- Functioning as the interior decorator for every new municipal building during her time with the city,
- Assisting the city manager prepare the city budget each year,
- Arranging16 annual board and commission appreciation banquets,
- Arranging 13 firefighter banquets and every “Thank You” party the city had thrown for its hundreds of volunteers,
- Organized the employee Christmas parties and Mayor’s Exchange Day activities
Arlene started in 1960 as the DPW clerk, and became the city manager’s secretary shortly thereafter. In the Tribune article, she recollects working till 8 or 9 p.m. to finish payroll, and a time, in the late 1960s, when several employees put together the furniture for the lobby of the new city hall building.
At ninety-one Arlene still calls Troy her home.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.