‘I’m a lifer’: Woman retires after 47 years with Middletown

Kay Sauer started as clerk/typist when she began career in Middletown in 1974.

To understand how long Kay Sauer has worked for the City of Middletown, consider she’s the only employee who moved her desk from the former City Building on Central Avenue to the City Building on Donham Plaza.

The City Building was dedicated on July 4, 1976, and opened to the public in 1977.

By that time, Sauer had already worked for the city for three years.

She retired last week, ending a 47-year career that began on July 29, 1974, when she was hired as a clerk/typist in the human resources department. During that time, she worked on typewriters, computers and received work emails on her cellphone.

“That shows my age doesn’t it?” said Sauer, 66.

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Her job titles have changed over the years, from typist to secretary to administrative secretary to personnel assistant to personnel administrator to senior personnel specialist.

She retired in 2005, then worked part-time until last week.

Now her title is retiree.

“Time goes fast. Very, very fast,” she said. “I have told the other girls that in the blink, you will be here as long as me.”

That probably won’t happen, Sauer said, because this generation of workers doesn’t stay in one position too long. A “revolving door” is how she described the work environment.

“They move on for better opportunities and I can’t blame them,” said Sauer, a 1972 Madison High School graduate. “They are not lifers. I’m a lifer.”

Susan Cohen, Middletown’s assistant city manager, said Sauer spent a career working tirelessly for the people of Middletown.

“In everything she did, she took the time and effort to complete her work in an exemplary manner,” Cohen said. “We will miss her guidance, her knowledge, and most of all her friendship, as she heads into a well-deserved retirement.”

Sauer wants to spend more time with her husband, Tom Sauer, who retired in 1998 as deputy chief for the Middletown Division of Fire; three children, Mike, Lori and Steve; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“It’s time for a new chapter in my life,” she said.

On Tuesday, the first day of her retirement, Sauer said she had to make “a big adjustment.” She didn’t have to be at the City Building at 7 a.m.

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