Stevenson retires after nearly three decades of service

Evanston Mayor Kent Williams presents former city clerk Nancy Stevenson with some Evanston art to celebrate her retirement during the May 5 city council meeting. Stevenson worked for the city for more than 28 years. She retired on Friday, May 8. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — “What I liked best about working for the city was the people — my coworkers, the citizens of Evanston and being able to serve the public in many different capacities,” Nancy Stevenson said upon her retirement as city clerk on Friday, May 8. “I have worked with five mayors and many different council members. It has been a fun and rewarding experience.”

Stevenson worked for the city of Evanston for more than 28 years, beginning in November of 1991. She began her career as an administrative assistant/mail clerk and answering and directing telephone calls. At that time, the city did not have a computerized phone system and Stevenson would direct the incoming calls to the correct office. City Hall looked very different then, Stevenson said. She and her coworkers were in little cubicles with no walls. If needed, she would also help customers at the front desk. She also prepared business licenses and liquor licenses along with several other duties.

Don Welling was the city clerk when Stevenson was hired, and part of her duties was to be Welling’s administrative assistant. Along with her other duties, she typed up the city council minutes. She said he would write the minutes in long hand and she would type them on a typewriter — the city had no computers at that time.

When Welling left the position, Steve Widmer was acting city clerk. Stevenson said Widmer would just put notes on the agenda and she would type them. Jim Davis then became city clerk and appointed Stevenson as his deputy clerk. Part of her job then included preparing the agenda and all of the documents for council meetings. From that time on, Stevenson said she started going to the council meetings and taking notes. The fact that council meetings were always tape recorded made her job easier, she said.

“(Evanston City Attorney) Dennis Boal and I have worked very well as a team,” Stevenson said. “He and I used to have to travel back and forth to each other’s offices completing the paperwork and documents for the council. Computers have now saved us both many steps. We have it down to a science now.”

During the tenure of Will Davis as mayor, Trudy Lym was his administrative assistant. When Lym transferred to the city’s finance department, Stevenson was appointed to the position of the mayor’s administrative assistant and still maintained all the duties of deputy clerk.

Stevenson took over the duties of city clerk when Amy Grenfell resigned to take a job in Cheyenne.  Grenfell’s duties had included community development and urban renewal activities as well as clerk duties. When Grenfell left, the Evanston City Council decided to separate those job duties and made Stevenson city clerk and hired Rocco O’Neill as community development director. 

Now that Stevenson has retired, Diane Harris has been transferred from the payroll/HR position to become the new city clerk, but also keeping her duties in human resources. Payroll will be kept in the treasurer’s department.

Stevenson and her husband, Neil, together have a combined 66 years of service to the City of Evanston and to the community. Neil Stevenson worked first for the city as a mechanic and then transferred to the city’s street department. His service began in 1981 and he retired from the city in 2017.

The Stevensons have a son who lives in Montana with his family; a son in Nebraska, whose grown children now live in central Wyoming; and a daughter and her husband and 2-year-old son who live in Evanston.

“My husband and I plan to travel and visit our children,” Stevenson said, “and our dream is to visit all of the state parks. We had planned on traveling to Glacier National Park in August or September but now, with the coronavirus, we may have to postpone that.

Stevenson said she’s thankful for the work she and her husband have been able to provide for the community.

“Evanston has been a great place to live and work for Neil and [me],” she said. “We are grateful we had the opportunity we had to work for the city and serve our community.”

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