By LAUREN VINCENT
• Daily Leader
After 16 years of dedicated service Joyce Keating, Liberal Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary, has decided it is time to experience life from a new perspective.
“I am retiring and moving to Russellville, Ark., to live with my daughter and granddaughter,” Keating said. “I will most likely get a part-time job because I know I will not be able sit around at home.”
Keating related how she came to find herself working at the Chamber.
“I was looking for a job and went down to Gateway Inn to apply for the Night Auditor position but Phyllis said she had something I would like much better,” Keating said. “So she sent me down to talk to Jack Taylor, and he called me the night after the interview and asked me if I would like to start the next day. So that’s how I got this job.”
Some of the funniest stories Keating can remember come from phone calls answered early on in her time as secretary and receptionist.
“Down at the old chamber building, there was an elderly lady who would call every day,” Keating said. “She would never announce who she was or ask for a phone number.
“She would just say a business name like ‘El Kan Drug’ or ‘First National Bank’ and you were supposed to know that she was wanting their phone numbers,” Keating laughed. “When I first got those phone calls, I had to say, ‘OK, what is it you were wanting to know?’ But we always get funny calls, like what day do they have cattle auctions on and all kinds of things.”
While looking forward to new adventures, Keating is also sad to leave her job and many friends behind.
“It’s a wonderful job,” Keating said. “I love it. I will miss my job, all my friends – the Chamber Board and Ambassadors, my church. I will miss everybody. I’m sad to leave it, but at this point in life, it’s time to do some other things while I still can.”
In return, Keating will be missed by the community of Liberal and her Chamber family.
“Joyce has been at the Chamber for 16 years,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rozelle Webb. “She has a wealth of knowledge in her head and has been so active in our community. We are going to miss that and miss her.”
For Keating, the highlight of retirement will be spending more time with her two sons, Mike and Ellis Meddock; daughter, Emily Gehrer; three grandsons, four granddaughters and one great-granddaughter.
“It is going to be very exciting and very different,” Keating said. “I know I’m going to have a lot of fun.”