Finally finished at 50
By Merari Calderon Ruiz
For the Canby Herald
She grew up in Canby when only 2,000 some people called it home. Farms surrounded the once largely rural town. She often tended to her garden filled with orchid trees, blueberries and rose bushes.
She would always stand next to the train tracks to help her father unload the mail back when mail was delivered by train. Canby was a simpler place back then.
Nora Clark has lived in town for nearly 70 years now. She is retiring from the law offices of Reif and Hunsaker, P.C. after working there for 50 years beginning in 1967. On Dec. 15, they will be hosting an open house in honor of her retirement.
Her career began when she was hired by Raymond R. Reif, who was an attorney at the time until he retired in 1998, and started off as a part-time employee for two months. She worked with her mother Eva Neiland, who was an attorney for 40 years in the law office before Neiland retired in 1977.
Clark learned so much from her mother, but she also pursued education at Clackamas Community College and Portland State University and took classes like tax and legal assistance. Shortly after, in 1977, she became the first nationally certified legal assistant in Oregon.
A few years later, in the spring of 1982, Raymond and Roger Reif started the construction of the Reif and Hunsaker, P.C. building and finished in the fall of that same year. Roger Reif, who grew up in Canby, worked in the law office as an attorney from 1975 to 2015. Clark and Reif went to school together, graduated in the same class and they worked together for 40 years.
The office mainly works doing property and business transactions, and trust and estate planning. In her time there, Clark helped with many things like bookkeeping and running clients' trust accounts making sure it was balanced.
"It's very important to make sure that every penny of your client's money is accounted for. Lawyers can lose their license if they don't," said Roger Reif. "She had a [two party] system where she kept one and another employee [kept another]. Then, at the end of each day, they had to balance. If they didn't, they wouldn't go home until they figured out what was wrong and got it to balance. So the clients learned to rely upon her and had a lot of respect for her. She was just one of a kind."
Clark became an Oregon licensed tax consultant and an enrolled agent in the IRS in 1980.
Mary Stoller, Clark's younger sister, was a receptionist at the Canby law firm for about 16 years and retired just last year.
"It never ceased to amaze me how devoted she was to doing her job in the office and helping others," said Stoller. "She's always been helpful to her parents and to me while growing up. She was a very dedicated employee that always enjoyed her job and tried her very best to make sure everything was done correctly. I know she's going to be missed."
As sisters, they try to stay true to their family traditions. They celebrate Christmas at Clarks' house because "she is a great cook and loves to entertain friends and family."
"I'm going to miss the law office, but I'm going to go on and still make an impression through the Historical Society and some of the other things that we work on with others in the community," said Clark. "Hopefully I'll still be active, you'll see me around town."
After retiring, she plans to go on some road trips with her husband Kirk to see more of the country and maybe even Canada. She has three kids, two live in Canby and one in Japan where he teaches English as a second language, but she wants to spend more time with her grandkids and volunteer more at the Canby Historical Society where she has served as president for more than 10 years.
Canby has been Nora's home for a long time and she is unsure she ever wants to leave.
"Maybe when you're younger you think you might [move], but it just turns out to be a good place. I've had a job here, I've had my home here, I've had my family here, so it's been a good community for me."
Many things change, but Canby is still a simpler place and for Nora it will always be home.
Retirement open house is Friday
There will be an open house for Nora Clark at the law offices of Reif & Hunsaker on Friday, Dec. 15 to celebrate her retirement after 50 years of working for the company. She joined the firm of Bettis, Liberty & Reif on Dec. 27, 1967. The open house is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.