NEWS-Nancy_OatesTown Clerk Nancy Oates will be retiring March 22 after 31 years on the job.

“I think the time has come,” said Oates, who turns 83 on Jan. 18.

Oates, who has served 10 terms and was re-elected last year, chose the date of her retirement carefully. She wanted a new town clerk to be elected at the March 22 town election so there would be no need to appoint an interim person.


When asked what she will do after retirement Oates responded: “I'll probably be sorry. I will be bored out of my mind, I think. I'll probably volunteer at the senior center, the library and the schools. I know I'm going to regret it.”

Oates loves her job, even though it was one she fell into by accident. She tells the story of how her husband had just died in December, 1982 when she was approached in January by attorney Robert Troy, Sr. (a neighbor and father of former town attorney Robert Troy Jr.), who convinced her to run for town clerk.

“I said to him: 'Are you out of your mind? I don't want to speak in public.' He thought I'd be great at it. It's been fun. I'd like to do it forever. I'm just getting tired - not of the job. The job is fascinating. You're doing different things constantly.”

As town clerk, Oates is responsible for recording and maintaining the town's vital records: birth, death, marriages as well as supervising all elections, among other duties. Her favorite part of the job is running elections: “I just love elections,” she said.

Oates, who is originally from Boston, has lived in Dux- bury for 42 years. She raised nine children in town and she was a teacher before becoming a mother.

When Oates was first elected, it was by a slim margin. “I had to run my first recount after that election, and I won by three votes,” she remembered.

When asked what advice she would give someone interested in becoming town clerk, Oates said: “They would really have to love people because you're dealing with people all the time.”

Oates said there are no qualifications needed for someone to run for town clerk and training is provided. "It's easy enough to pick up," she said. 

So far, two people have taken out papers to run for the town clerk's job: Susan Kelley, who served as assistant to Oates and now works as the town manager's executive assistant, and Oates' daughter Jacqueline Oates Haskell. She works in management at Linden Pond, said Oates. 

For Oates, it is apparent that her retirement will be bittersweet: "I owe a lot to the people in Duxbury. They've been wonderful to me. I'm a little sad about leaving."