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30 years of service to the township

Treasurers John Lutz, Curt Carson, and Jim Wenger celebrate the retirement after 30 years of Deputy Treasurer Lillian Jawlik. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)

Treasurers John Lutz, Curt Carson, and Jim Wenger celebrate the retirement after 30 years of Deputy Treasurer Lillian Jawlik. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
February 02, 2011 - In 1980, former Independence Township Treasurer Fred Ritter was looking for a deputy treasurer. In his search he found a woman he described as "invaluable." Her name was Lillian Jawlik.

Ritter asked all the bank managers with which the township did business if they had any recommendations for a deputy. One of the banks was Pontiac State Bank.

"Lil was a teller there and I knew Lil real well because I'd been making deposits there for the past two years as township treasurer, all of the sudden it hit me," he said. "Lil would be a good deputy because I knew how efficient she was with the employees at the bank."

Ritter said he called Branch Manager Marty Wheeler at home to inquire about Jawlik for deputy treasurer.

"She said to me 'you can't have her.' That's when I said to Marty 'Since you said I can't have her, I know she's exactly the one I want, because you don't want to give her up, but I won't approach her without your permission.'"

Upon permission, Ritter asked Jawlik and she accepted the offer. She worked for Ritter for four years.

"She was great and did a great job with helping me keep that office together," Ritter said. "She was a day-to-day nuts and bolts person."

Jawlik assisted three more treasurers following Ritter, including John Lutz, Jim Wenger, and current Treasurer Curt Carson.

Friends, family and co-workers joined Jawlik at Independence Township Hall on Jan. 27 to celebrate her "over 30 years of selfless service and dedication to the residents of the charter township of Independence."

Lutz, who served from 1984 to 1996, said she was his "favorite deputy treasurer."

"I had a lot of good years with her, 12 to be exact," Lutz said. "She was a great employee and going to be a real loss to the township, it's that experience and knowledge she has."

Wenger who served as treasurer from 1996 to 2008 said he was "fortunate" to have Jawlik while he served.

"The thing I'll remember most about Lil is her unbelievable dedication to the job, her unbelievable skill levels she performed. There were days she was so sick you'd think you got to go, but when tax season came, when things were to be done, I always knew she was there," Wenger said. "She is an incredibly talented individual and an incredibly nice individual which was all the better for her being here, while I was here."

Carson said Jawlik has been "a fixture" around the township for 30 years.

"What a great help when I came on board two years ago. She said, 'Curt, I'll get you through the first tax season,' which had already started. Thankfully she stuck around for a couple years and decided I wasn't such a bad guy I guess or maybe she changed her mind," Carson said with a laugh.

Longtime friend Linda Owen, who is a former treasurer for Brandon Township and current deputy treasurer for Hadley Township, said she admires Jawlik.

"Lil has been a great, great mentor, somebody to look up to when you just came to the job. She couldn't have asked for better guys to work for, she always complimented them on what she did," Owen said. "That's one good thing as a (deputy) treasurer, the person you work for. If you don't work with somebody good, you're not good."

Ritter was out of town and sorry he was unable to attend the party.

"She worked for the township for 30 years," he said. "It's time for her to sit down, relax, and have some fun."

Jawlik's son, Bill, Jr., called his mom's 30 years an "accomplishment."

"All of her bosses were elected officials and they could have done whatever they wanted," he said. "But they chose to keep her around this many years."

He also said she was a "great mom."

"It was great to have her working close to by," he said. "She could always come to the games and pick me up from school. She had a lot of time for us."

Sister Jackie (Jawlik) Mack agreed.

"She puts up with a lot of stuff from us kids, even in our older ages and she would do anything for any of us, Jackie said. "She also put a lot of time into this township. She would work holidays when she didn't have to, so this (retirement) is going to be good for her."

Lillian said she and her husband, Bill, Sr., have a trip planned to go to the Canadian Rockies this summer with some friends.

"We've been married for over 48 years, we've only taken two or three vacations together," Bill said. "Now we'll have a chance to do something together."

With a smile on her face Lil said she's enjoyed the past 30 years.

"I have lifelong friendships and acquaintances. The treasurers have been great to me, they are all individuals and I've loved working for all of them," she said. "It went by fast, too fast. Anybody who's going to retire pretty soon hang in there, you'll know when it's your time and this is my time."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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