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January 3, 2014

Ellenburg town clerk retiring after 44 years

ELLENBURG CENTER — In 1830, when Ellenburg first became a town, all the town officials worked out of their homes.

For her 44 years as Ellenburg town clerk, Thelma LaBombard has worked out of her home, too.

Now, at age 80, she is retiring, and the next person to take the position will be working out of a town building.

“It’s changing a little bit,” Thelma said.

FINDING ANSWERS

As town clerk, Thelma often handled requests for birth certificates, marriage certificates and family information.

“Her door is open six days a week,” said Ellenburg Supervisor Dave Leonard, who noted LaBombard had the reputation of always being ready to answer questions or search for information.

“She has served her community, for almost half a century, above and beyond the call of duty,” he said.

Those years of service will be recognized with a dinner in Thelma’s honor.

At the event, Leonard said, “There will be opportunities for people to tell some stories they’ve experienced with Thelma. All her children will be there. Her friends might be bringing her some gifts. I’m sure it will be a lovely afternoon.”

FAMILY OBLIGATIONS

Leonard recalled he first met Thelma through her family. She and her late husband, Richard, ran LaBombard’s Gulf Service in Ellenburg Center for more than 20 years.

“I knew Richard through the garage, and he was a wonderful man — I think the kindest and most generous man I’ve ever met.”

Eventually, Richard was diagnosed with ALS — Lou Gehrig’s disease. Thelma cared for her husband for years, customizing her van with a lift gate to accommodate his wheelchair so she could take him to doctor’s appointments and to visit family.

“She keeps everyone in the family together,” said son Ron LaBombard.

Thelma has had custody of a handicapped grandchild, Angela, for more than 25 years, Ron said.

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