The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 22, 2013

Title work ‘like a mystery’

Examiner retires after 47 years

DANVILLE — When she graduated from high school at age 18, Sandy Lister expected to take a couple of weeks off before she started a career. Instead, she found herself starting a job at Danville Abstract right away — and never looked back.

Lister, 65, retired from Vermilion County Title on Friday after 47 years of employment.

“I love the work,” said Lister, who started as a typist and retired as an examiner. “It’s like a mystery — what can I find (in the records)?”

Pat O’Shaughnessy, owner of the title company (formerly Danville Abstract), is amazed at Lister’s longevity, saying, “You don’t see that anymore.”

It’s going to be difficult to replace her, he said, adding, “How do you replace 47 years of knowledge?”

He’s been pleased with Lister as an employee, describing her as a hard worker. “She comes to work with a smile on her face and leaves with one,” he said.

Lister has seen a lot of changes over the years — including location and technology. But the work itself never changes.

A native of Danville, Lister moved to State Line, Ind., with her family when she was a child, and graduated from Seeger

Memorial High School in May 1966. She had applied for jobs as part of Senior Day, and then went on the senior class trip.

When she returned, she was surprised to receive a call from Danville Abstract, wanting her to start that Monday in a temporary position. Her original plan was to go to business college and become an accountant.

“I never thought I’d be there 15 years,” she said, and certainly not almost 50.

Lister started as a typist, using the “clunky” manual typewriters. The office later switched to electric typewriters, and then computers in 1999. With computers, she could examine documents more quickly.

She also did abstracts, or a history of the land, and had to compare different records.

The company began doing title insurance instead of abstracts after it became the Vermilion County Title Co.

One improvement is that the company is online with the Vermilion County Courthouse, making it easier to access some records.

Lister has worked at three sites. The abstract company was on West Main Street, next to what is now the city building; then it was located in the building now occupied by the Java Hut; and in January 1999, it moved to its current location in the 100 block of North Vermilion Street.

In 1997, O’Shaughnessy and Jill Kavanaugh bought the business, and it became a title company. O’Shaughnessy is the sole owner now.

Lister said her job involved searching records to make sure a person has a clear right to property. In the case of a death, she checked documents and wills, and tried to find the heir, if necessary.

As an examiner, she double-checked what the title searchers had done. In case of problems, she would alert the banks and attorneys. It also was her job to write the title insurance commitment that ensures a clean title — that is, no liens or claims against the property.

She always had the complicated cases, many that involved farms and acreage. It was a lot of responsibility.

Going through estate records was like a mystery or a puzzle, she said, as she followed all of the transactions — sometimes starting from more than 100 years ago.

“I love the work, I really do,” she said. “It’s always different. I try to figure out ways to make it come out good.”

In her retirement, Lister plans to spend time with her mother and do some traveling and reading.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Kindergarten roundup nears

    April 20, 2014

  • Head Start services offered

    April 20, 2014

  • City to discuss chicken ordinance, animal control DANVILLE -- Residents love their pets -- ranging from the furry to feathered kind -- and let city officials know about it. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said two of the biggest issues he's received phone calls about since he's been mayor have been about the

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN0420 - Vignette2 image Danville thrift store glass gets a second life Chris Moore of Danville admits he's never been known as an artistic person among friends and family. But after seeing some glass garden decorations at a landscaping business about a year ago, something clicked and he decided to try his hand at creati

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three injured in shooting on east side DANVILLE -- Police have made one arrest in connection with a triple shooting incident Friday night on the city's east side. Police and emergency personnel responded around 6:30 p.m. Friday to the 1000 block of Moore Street to reports of shots fire. T

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN 0420 - Vignette3 image Odds and ends turn into great useful objects Four Danville Area Community College students took some wooden pallets, a used tire, two broken clocks and a fallen tree limb and created four completely usable objects that will be entered in the college's Trash to Treasures repurposing challenge on

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - CN0420 - Repurpose5 image Trash into treasure What started out as an idea for a class project quickly snowballed into a campuswide initiative at Danville Area Community College, with the results being on display this week. To mark Earth Day this year, the Biology Department and the Sustainabilit

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - CN0420 - Rock Church cross image Floral cross celebrates Easter DANVILLE — A cross at The Rock Church is blooming with the beauty of spring and the promise of Easter.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 04-20 Vignette1 image Couple creates rustic salvaged furniture Kim Hannah of Danville has been salvaging and reusing materials -- most notably barn wood -- for close to two decades. Hannah has sold her handmade crafts and primitive, rustic furniture made of salvaged barn wood at shows around the Midwest for 18 y

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’ Auxiliary buys ‘Wagons for Warriors’

    A benefit last month raised $771, which was donated to Wagons for Warriors.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read