Jo-Ann Raia officially wrapped up her 38-year career as Huntington’s town clerk on Tuesday.
But she’ll be back Thursday to finish up old items, and prepare the way for her successor, her son, Andrew Raia.
On Tuesday, surrounded by mementos from the decades of community events she’s attended, Raia talked about the hundreds of weddings she’s performed as a town marriage officer, the thousands of birth, marriage and death certificates she’s signed over the years, and addition of various licenses now required by the town.
As she talked, other town employees dropped by to say farewell and to thank her for her help over the years, and joked about the work and legacy her son will inherit.
As town clerk, she also attended Town Board meetings, reading resolutions and recording the votes of its members.
“It has been an absolute honor and a pleasure to serve all these years,” she said. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”
In some cases, she’s signed paperwork for people applying for such licenses as taxi drivers, then their marriage applications, children’s birth certificates and ultimately, their death certificates.
And, while recounting her experiences in Huntington as a young mother, she noted the many changes downtown, while encouraging Huntington residents to shop downtown and support local merchants.
Under different town supervisors and amid shifts in power on the Town Board, Raia has carried on, winning numerous awards for her work through the years.
In October, she hosted a Halloween-themed tour of the archives, dating back to the town’s founding in 1653, which include accounts of the placement in stocks and a whipping to curb a “turbulent” woman who had rubbed her neighbors the wrong way, and the story of a town supervisor who had previously been a pirate.
In addition to finish up work for the handoff to the new town clerk, Raia will be still turn up at Town Hall, promising to attend Town Board meetings, and continuing her community work–she was recently named to citizen committees on the disabled and town beautification projects.