TROY — Judy Trissell will miss all things fair when she retires as the treasurer of the Miami County Agricultural Society.
But, she said, after a 30-year career working for the Miami County Commissioners, and 13 years as treasurer for the Miami County Agricultural Society, “You just know when it’s time,” she said.
Trissell admits she didn’t know anything about the Ag Society or the Miami County Fair when she answered an ad in the newspaper for a part-time treasurer in 1997.
“I had only showed up and ate waffles and stuff and watched the bands because they used to march around the grounds. That was my knowledge of the fair at that point,” she said. “So, I had no idea of the complexities of putting on a fair. This job offered just the kind of things I like to do.”
Trissell said she has thoroughly enjoyed the more than a decade of working in the secretary’s office, even with the long hours leading up to and during the fair.
“I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and learned a lot about the inner workings of the Miami County Fair,” she said. “The fair board is made up of generous, hard working and dedicated people who all share a passion for the fair.”
Trissell said people have asked her over the years what she could possibly be doing at the fairgrounds year round, which brought a chuckle.
“I would always tell them the planning for the next year begins as soon as the fair is over. Everything done out here has a whole lot of work,” she said. “I never had a clue about how detailed the animal shows are … and the paperwork. Being a city kid, I kind of knew there were different breeds. But, I’m surprised about how much paperwork there is, how many breeds there are. What it actually takes to bring a pig to the fair.”
She said she also was surprised about how many people volunteer to bring the fair to fruition each year.
“There’s an awful lot of people who do an awful lot of work out here,” Trissell said.
She said she will miss the rapport she, Jeff Layman and Dee Mahan, who all worked together during the fair, had with the Laura Lions Club members, who man the gates during the fair.
“They are special people,” she said. “I’m going to miss the week of the fair in the office. We had a good time in here. We made sure we ate.”
Miami County Agricultural Society President Nick Shellenberger said Trissell has been invaluable over the years.
“Judy has been an extreme asset to the Ag Society for the past 13 years and is definitely going to be missed,” said Shellenberger, who said the search for her replacement is underway and applications are being accepted until Dec. 1.
The board honored Trissell in October, naming her Fair Supporter of the Year, for her years of service and “always going above and beyond the call of duty,” Shellenberger said.
“I was surprised and humbled to say the least. There are so many people that do a lot of things out here that were just as deserving,” Trissell said. “I still kind of look at it as part of my job, to just do what’s needed. If you’re not invested in what you do … I just look at it as it’s part of my job.”
Trissell said she by no means plans to slow down, as she plans to find an organization to volunteer with, and continue to work in her yard, read, knit and help at her church, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Piqua.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do the first time I retired either,” she said jokingly of the mere seven months of retirement before she took the treasurer’s job.
The Troy resident has three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren between Ohio and Tennessee that she also plans to visit more often, and said retirement will allow her to relax.
“I can go and actually stay and visit with not such a timeline,” Trissell said. “I love spending time with my family, and I am really looking forward to that.”
Trissell, who has traveled extensively in the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, and also visited the Netherlands, Ireland and France, said she is going to continue checking off places on her bucket list. Next up is New York City and England, she believes, and hopes her sisters will again join her on the journeys.
“I’ve already traveled more than I ever thought I would be able to in my life,” said Trissell, who also vacations with Layman, her life partner.
She said she still plans to come to the fair, but only to enjoy it — and eat.
“I look forward to attending next year’s fair and attending many of the livestock shows, watching kids exhibit their animals. Having met and watched these kids and their supportive parents through the years has shown me what a great life experience it is. Lifelong friendships and lasting memories.”