It was Friday, May 13, 1966, when she started her job as a clerk typist for the city of Anniston.
It was Friday, May 13, 2011, when she closed her desk for the last time as a city employee, having risen to the rank of revenue collections supervisor.
In that 45-year span, she worked under 12 city managers — every city manager Anniston has ever had, starting with George Morris in 1969, the first year the council-manager system was instituted.
Along the way, numbers have been her specialty.
“I’ve always worked in finance,” she said in an interview last Wednesday, a couple of days before her last one on the job.
She closed out her career Friday in a department that will continue to collect business license fees, garbage collection fees, fees for municipal building rentals, inspection fees and fines assessed in city court. Guthrie’s work also entailed keeping track of credit card bills incurred by city employees on city business, and she also had to track down more than a few bad checks.
“We’re more in the background, doing the work,” she said of her duties and those of the three employees under her.
She said she wasn’t sure how many dollars passed through her hands, figuratively speaking, every week, but she did know it was sent where it needed to be.
“We code everything so it goes into proper accounts,” she said.
Among the more interesting areas in which Guthrie interacted with the public over the years was in payment of cemetery fees. The cost for an opening and closing of a grave in a city cemetery — Hillside or Edgemont — is $300.
She noted that no more space is available for indigent persons to be buried, but couples who want to plan ahead can be “double-buried” — one buried deeper first, the other buried at standard depth later, to save space.
“You have to be compassionate with family members,” she said of her years of dealings with cemetery fees.
Guthrie has departed from her job a satisfied employee, pleased that no two days were exactly the same. It was a long time from the point when she started as a “frightened little young lady” from Alexandria at the age of 19.
“The city has been good to me,” Guthrie said. “I am fortunate to have (had) a good job. I have no regrets about working here or retiring.”