A tribute to 50 years serving REMC members
The year was 1970. New homes cost an average of $23,450. The average annual income was $9,400. Gasoline cost 36 cents a gallon. Sports Illustrated could
be purchased for 15 cents and a postage stamp cost 6 cents. The largest rock festival ever attracted 600,000 people who heard Jimi Hendrix and The Who perform. The voting age in the United States was lowered to 18.
In 1970, Myrna Clay graduated from Twin Lakes High School. She was the first Twin Lakes High School co-op student. She was assigned to the White County
REMC office. “The first semester of my senior year at REMC, I shredded paper, did a little typing and cleaned files,” Clay recalled. “I did not mind the work, but I felt I was missing out at school in the classes I needed.”
Second semester of school rolled around and White County REMC asked Clay to return to work. “I told them I did not think that I would,” Clay said. “Mrs. McClintic, the co-op coordinator, convinced me that it would be a mistake not to go back. She said that perhaps I may have a permanent job there in the future. I took her advice and she was right.” During the second semester, Clay was named junior billing clerk.
Following graduation, Clay was hired full time and thus began her 50 years of serving REMC members. “I began as the junior billing clerk, then was senior billing clerk for some time,” Clay said. In 1972, she was named member records clerk, a position she held until 1981 when she became accounts receivable clerk. In 2002, she became a billing clerk and in 2007, Clay joined the member service representatives, a position she maintained until her retirement. Clay was born in the home where she grew up at 411 Turpie St. in Monticello. “According to our realtor, our home is the oldest in Monticello still standing,” Clay said. “Built by Gen. Turpie in 1856, the house had a stone wall foundation and double-bricked walls. It also stands on the highest ground in Monticello. It is a big sand hill and was surrounded by a swamp when it was built.”
Clay was the fourth of five children. “My parents had a large garden covering three lots with everything in it, including fruit trees,” Clay said. “We grew and sold strawberries every summer.” Growing up in Monticello provided many summer opportunities. “I loved to swim at Ideal Beach, later Indiana Beach,” Clay remembered. “For a small fee, the school provided buses and teachers in the summer to teach swimming. I loved roller skating at the beach, where the bumper cars later were placed.
“I rode my bike all over town and only had to be home in time for dinner,” Clay said.
In her 50-year career, Clay experienced vast changes. Clearly, technology impacted the way business was approached. “We used to do all the bills in our office and then we moved to having them printed and mailed outside,” Clay said. “We went from using an address-a-graph machine to make meter reading books for each member to read their own meters. Then we contracted meter readers and moved on to automated meter readings.
“The tornado in 1974 and the ice storm of 1991 were difficult times,” Clay recalled. “The REMC members were always eager to help in any way possible. They always understood difficult times.”
Clay is looking forward to retirement. “I plan to work with my son, Mark, and enjoy some free time,” she said. She and her husband, James (better known as “The Drummer”), plan to visit Calgary, Canada, where her
mother lived as a child for seven years. They are hoping to make that trip with her two sisters, Linda and Susan, and their spouses.
She and James have been married for 48 years. They have four children Neal, who is retired, was formerly an engineer at Kimberly Clark. He and his wife, Sandy, have two sons: Jay and Blake (Blair). They live in Georgia. Daughter Debra is an occupational therapist. She and her husband, David Baker from Michigan, have two children: Alex and Bernie (Liz) of Lafayette. The Clays’ son, Mark, who lives in Monticello is a machinist for medical bone rasps and works for Jordan Manufacturing. He has four children: Brooke, Bret, Brianna and Brittney, and stepchildren Nikko and Rey. Son Aaron is an occupational therapist
assistant from Monticello. He has two children: Kadence and Asher.
Clay also has seven step grandchildren and eight step-greatgrandchildren.