OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Marjorie Faust had always been interested in politics and government, so when a Port Clinton councilman told her about a job opening as City Council clerk, she put in an application.
It was 1958 and Mrs. Faust made a bit of history by becoming the first woman to hold that position in Port Clinton.
Nearly 50 years later, she is ending one of Ottawa County's longest careers in public service with her retirement as chairman of the board of elections, a position she held for the last six years. She left office June 30 to move to a home in the Erie County community of Venice.
"I just hated to give it up," Mrs. Faust, 81, said yesterday during a reception at the board's office. "I always enjoyed it. It was never a chore to do it."
The lifelong Democrat accepted well-wishes from fellow board members and other county officials of both major parties, who praised her as a tireless worker and a storehouse of knowledge about election law and local history.
"Marj has always had a very open mind," said Steve Arndt, a Republican who has been an Ottawa County commissioner since 1989. "She is really someone who has come forth to serve the public in the best capacity she can."
Mrs. Faust had been a board member since October, 1994, and from 1984 to 1988. During her first term, she helped oversee Ottawa County's transition to an optical-scan voting system, ending the county's status as the last in Ohio to use paper ballots.
After two years as Port Clinton's council clerk, Mrs. Faust was elected city treasurer in 1960 and served until 1964. During that time, she joined the Ottawa County Democratic Women's Club and began a 31-year tenure on the county party's central committee in 1974.
Mrs. Faust took some good-natured ribbing from Terry Lowe, one of two Republicans on the elections board after he read a proclamation in her honor from the Ohio General Assembly.
"Marj has been a real asset to the board of elections with her experience over the years," Mr. Lowe said. "Boy, are we glad you're retiring from that Democratic Party stuff."
"I'll never retire from that," Mrs. Faust shot back, laughing.
She worked for Port Clinton Savings & Loan (later Diamond Savings & Loan) for 25 years, retiring in 1986.
"I worked my way up from assistant secretary to vice president," she said proudly.
Mrs. Faust also served as matron of the old Ottawa County jail when her late husband, Bill, was sheriff from 1977 to 1981. Though she and her husband did not live in the jail as previous sheriff's families had, Mrs. Faust recalled cooking for the inmates when the regular chef was off and handling the facility's financial books.
"That was what you did," she said.
Her one disappointment, Mrs. Faust said, is that she was not able to stay at the board of elections to finish the county's upcoming shift to another balloting system under the federal Help America Vote Act.
When she scheduled her retirement earlier this year, it appeared the county would have a new system chosen before the end of June. However, Ottawa County and more than 30 other counties are involved in legal action against the Ohio Secretary of State's office over the timetable for certifying machines as meeting federal standards.
The Ottawa County Democratic Party's central committee has named Linda Apling of Carroll Township, a longtime poll worker and inspector for the board of elections, to replace Mrs. Faust.
Ms. Apling's appointment is pending approval by the Ohio Secretary of State's office. "I've got some big shoes to fill," she said.
Contact Steve Murphy at:
or 419-724-6078.41.50821 -83.14501