Hollis town clerk retires after 35 years

By KATHY CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

HOLLIS – During her 35 years in the town clerk’s office, most of the contact Nancy Jambard had with the public was positive – more than positive; some say the Hollis clerk’s office is the friendliest around – but there were times when she had to tell people to leave.

Because New Hampshire doesn’t require auto insurance and Massachusetts does, soldiers from Fort Devens would occasionally try to register their cars in Hollis, picking a random address for themselves.

One man told Jambard he was living on Rideout Road and gave the name that was on the mailbox of his supposed address.

She was familiar with that name.

“He’s been dead for five years,” she said – and asked the man to get out of her office.

“You know so many people because it’s a small town,” she said May 28, the next to last day before her retirement.

Jambard has seen a lot of changes since she started as deputy town clerk in May 1980, when the office was in the home of Town Clerk Bertha Duncan on Route 122.

She took a portable typewriter to her job.

Then, it was all pencil and paper, and Hollis was just one step in the vehicle registration process.

Now, everything is computerized and all the registration is completed in the town clerk’s office.

Town clerks are usually one of the first people with whom newcomers have contact, and in recent years, Jambard said she has been surprised to see how many families are doubling up – that is, young people moving back to their parents’ homes or older people moving in with their children.

There are a lot of one-room rentals, she said, and she wonders if that’s because of the changing economy.

Not long after Jambard took over the job, the town clerk’s office moved to Town Hall. In the 1990s, it moved to the Village Marketplace shopping center when selectmen realized there wasn’t enough parking near Town Hall.

Jambard said she will miss her daily contact with townspeople and co-workers, but one thing she will happily miss is the next presidential election.

“It’s a lot of strain and stress, a lot of work,” and elections in general have too many changing rules and regulations, she said.

Town officials are throwing a party to celebrate her retirement at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7, in the Lawrence Barn.

Everyone is welcome.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.