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Feuerhelm retiring after 35 years in the clerk of courts office

Pierce County Clerk of Courts Peg Feuerhelm has been a familiar face at the Pierce County Courthouse for 35 years. She is retiring in January. David Clarey / RiverTown Multimedia

Peg Feuerhelm is retiring in January after 35-year run in the Pierce County Clerk of Courts office, beginning as a clerk to leading the office.

The Ellsworth native has overseen the office's switch from mounds of paper documents to solely electronic filing measures and in a job that is consumed by what could be seen as mundane court administrative duties, she's relished the position.

"I have always enjoyed my job," Feuerhelm said. "It really has been a pleasure to serve the people of Pierce County and to do something for the community."

Feuerhelm had gone to college in Eau Claire for a year, before leaving and marrying her husband in 1970. Feuerhelm originally joined the office in 1983, she said.

She said she took the job knowing the county's reputation as a good employer, but it also gave her a position close to home. She wanted to be close to her five children, and avoid a long commute to the Twin Cities.

"There was a job opening and I felt that it would be a good fit for me ... and my children went to school here," Feuerhelm said.

She stayed on as a deputy clerk manning various case types, before the previous clerk of courts retired in 2005. She ran for the position unopposed, and for the last 14 years has never faced a challenger, she said.

"I probably had the most seniority [when the clerk retired] and I felt I could do the job," she said.

In her time as clerk, she said the most dramatic change came with technology. The clerks used to type on physical cards court records and keep them in large, heavy books in various county positions.

In 2014, she led the office's push to go paperless, and by 2016 it was mandated throughout the state that all case files be electronically submitted.

"It helped tremendously with not having to request new staff to keep up with all the records," Feuerhelm said.

In November, Feuerhelm's daughter-in-law Kerry Feuerhelm was voted to succeed the incumbent Feuerhelm, beating out in-office candidate Megan Erwin.

Peg said she believes that Kerry will do well at the position.

"I think it's very nice [she is succeeding me,]" she said. "I think Kerry will be a very good fit for the clerk of courts position."

Kerry takes over Peg's position on Jan. 7. In the between time, Peg said she plans on tying up any remaining work she has left and meeting with Kerry to ease the transition between the two.

"I don't like leaving someone with things I should have done," she said.

With her new spare time, Feuerhelm is planning on spending more time with her nine grandchildren, along with tending to her flower garden and some traveling to undetermined locations.