Town says thanks to a loyal employee

Longtime deputy clerk eases into retirement after 20 years of helping residents

LONGTIME DEPUTY CLERK Lila Schwan, 83, recently retired as deputy clerk for the Town of Grafton after 20 years on the job. During last week’s Town Board meeting she was commended by the supervisors for her years of service and given a pinky winky hydrangea, which she planted in her yard. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Longtime Deputy Clerk Lila Schwan was given a proper send-off last week after serving the Town of Grafton for 20 years.

“Before I left, we decided to look up how many years I was working here, and I thought it was 10 or 11,” said Schwan, who will turn 83 next month. “I guess time flies when you enjoy what you are doing.”

On Wednesday, May 12, Schwan was treated to dinner before the Town Board meeting, where she was commemorated. She was also given a pinky winky hydrangea shrub that she later planted in the yard of her Cedarburg home.

“Lila’s work ethic always went beyond what was asked of her,” Town Chairman Lester Bartel said. “Her years of knowledge was a resource to us. She became a great friend to us all, and she can’t be replaced.”

Schwan grew up on Pioneer Road in the Town of Grafton and remembers watching movies with her father at the former Grafton theater in a downtown building that now houses the Town Hall.

She also worked in the same building for two years before Bartel hired her as an administrative assistant.

“I guess I spent 22 years of my life in that building,” Schwan said, noting she also served as interim clerk during her tenure.

Schwan said she initially didn’t want to retire and even postponed the decision for several years, but seven weeks ago she fell and broke both of her wrists and finally decided it was time.

As deputy clerk, most of her daily tasks entailed typing meeting minutes and fielding phone calls from residents.

Through the years, Schwan said, she got to personally know many residents, some of whom would walk in to her office or give her a call just to say hi on a weekly basis.

“These people became my family. I got to know their spouses and pets,” she said. “When one of their loved ones passed, it was like losing a member of my family.”

Schwan said the town has changed significantly since she was a child and she is amazed to see more residents and development projects come into the area.

“I kind of feel like Rip Van Winkle when I think about the past and how things are now,” she said, laughing.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Schwan was asked to work at home, something she didn’t want to do.

“I want to get out and be part of the world. That’s what keeps me going,” she said. “It’s going to be a big change for me. I like to keep a routine.”

In retirement, Schwan plans to remain active by using her green thumb as a volunteer gardener at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cedarburg and play sheepshead at the Grafton Senior Center.

“I guess it’s time to do more things that I haven’t been able to do,” she said. “I told myself, ‘It’s time to do more things for Lila.’”

Although she is no longer an employee of the town, Schwan still wants to help.

“I told them that if someone is on vacation, I’m ready to come in and do whatever I can to help,” she said.

“I already miss my old job and hope to continue to support the Grafton community.”



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