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Vonnie Barrett’s last day at bank is Dec. 31

Dec. 7, 2009

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

WAVERLY, MN – New Year’s Eve will be a turning point for Yvonne “Vonnie” Barrett, who plans to retire from Citizens State Bank in Waverly Thursday, Dec. 31, after 29 years of service.

“I will miss all my co-workers and all the great customers, but it’s time,” Barrett said.

“She will be severely missed,” Kent Houston of Citizens State Bank said.

The bank in Waverly will serve refreshments to the public all day Tuesday, Dec. 15 in honor of Barrett’s service.

Barrett said her time at Citizens State Bank has been very satisfying, and she’s felt welcome there from the start.

“When I walked in, it felt like home,” Barrett said. “One of my co-workers [Fran Luhman] was sort of a neighbor. She welcomed me, and away we went.”

Barrett had many years of work experience even before she started her career in Waverly. She graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Winsted in 1964, and then went to beauty school in the Twin Cities. Barrett then worked for a salon in St. Louis Park.

Her husband, Jack, graduated from Holy Trinity in 1962, and they were married in 1966. She then worked at Edco Manufacturing Co. in Winsted for about eight months until she was hired at Citizens State Bank in Winsted.

When Barrett’s first child, Scott, was born in 1969, she took off work for nine months. Barrett then opened a beauty salon out of her home, so that she could be around while her children were young.

Ten years later, Barrett was ready to get back into banking. She walked into Citizens State Bank in Waverly and asked the people if they had any openings.

“They said, ‘as a matter of fact, we do,’” Barrett recalled. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

Barrett rotated jobs each week with a few other people in the company. That way, each employee got to do bookkeeping, overdrafts, operate the proof machine, and work as a teller.

When she first started, Barrett worked with a 12-pocket proof machine.

“It was a huge machine you had to put all the documents into to proof everyone’s work,” she said.

Another piece of equipment the bank used was a posting machine for checks and deposits.

“It was used to balance everything at the end of the day,” Barrett explained.

From debit cards to Internet banking, Barrett said that “very much has changed” since she started in the industry.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “Those products can make your life so much easier.”

About 15 years ago, the bank’s owner, Catherine “Birdie” Jackson, put together a customized job for Barrett, known as “funds management.”

It includes a conglomeration of responsibilities, including human resources, scheduling, payroll, 401ks, and more.

“They put it all together in one,” Barrett said.

Barrett said she’s enjoyed all aspects of her job, but especially likes to reconcile statements.

“I think that’s been one of my favorites,” she said. “I like to know we’re in balance every day.”

Some of Barrett’s best bank memories are of work-related events, such as the Waverly Daze parade and business expos.

“Those are fun,” she said.

Barrett said she’s also enjoyed helping with bank-sponsored softball games during the summer.

As for retirement, Barrett has some plans she’s definitely looking forward to.

“Enjoy life. Relax. Travel,” she said.

She’s also excited to spend more time with Jack, who’s been retired for six years. Her daughter, Jody, and three grandchildren, ages 4, 6, and 7, live in North Carolina, so she hopes to see more of them, as well.

Other hobbies Barrett enjoys include flower gardening and fishing in the summer.


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