Displaying his newly issued Medicare card, Minden Town counsel George Keele told the board Wednesday night that he was retiring after 32 years of advising the board.
It was an emotional farewell, with Keele, 65, and the five-member board often choking back tears.
"It's been the joy of my life," said Keele, who went to work as the town's legal adviser in May 1981 when he was 33.
He said he was retiring to devote more time to his family, his calling with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his private legal practice.
With his encyclopedic knowledge of Minden, Carson Valley, and especially its residents, Keele thanked each board and staff member with a personal anecdote.
He said the Keele family had unbreakable ties to Carson Valley beginning when his mother, Teddyanna Keele, accepted a teaching contract at age 19 in the Douglas County School District in the 1940s.
His wife Judy began her career 40 years ago in the school district, and they have made their home in Carson Valley for 38 years.
Town engineer Bruce Scott, who has sat next to Keele at the board meetings for decades, said he knew Minden "backwards and forwards."
"It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience for me to have George as a resource and confidante," Scott said.
Chairman Charlie Condron said Keele's retirement "was not an easy moment."
"We're going to miss you," Condron said. "Thank you, thank you very, very much."
Vice chair Matt Bernard said he appreciated Keele's "calming hand."
"You're more than the town counsel," Bernard said. "I hope I still get to work with you. We will never be able to replace you."
Member Roxanne Stangle was so choked up, she could only offer a "thank you."
"You know how I feel about you," she tearfully told Keele after the meeting as he embraced her.
"Retirement from jobs we so loved is one of the hardest things you have to do," said board member Steve Thaler, former director of the China Spring youth camp. "George, you are deeply loved in Minden, and deeply loved in this community. That doesn't end here. You gave your life to this town. You did it better than anyone else."
Board member John Stephans thanked Keele for his guidance.
"You led us through some tough situations," Stephans said. "Thank you for everything you've done. I will miss you."
Keele agreed to continue to assist the board until his replacement is named.
Condron said after the meeting the issue would be agendized for a future board meeting.