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
  • a Earns Best Buy.jpg Danv test headline goes here Danv test web summary goes here.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS-CN 08-21 Bomb photo Bomb scare empties city block

    DANVILLE — Emergency personnel shut down a city block and evacuated several businesses following a suspicious package found along North Walnut Street.Danville police were contacted a little after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after a black suitcase was discov

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 08-21 Renaissance photo Ellsworth to host Renaissance Village DANVILLE—The Illinois Renaissance Festival will celebrate its 10th year in Danville with some new activities.This is the festival’s 12th year. It was in Champaign in 2003-2004 and moved to Danville in 2005, according to JoMarie Dugan, director of the

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Appeals court says term limits can't be on ballot SPRINGFIELD — Proponents of term limits for Illinois lawmakers were preparing a last-minute appeal to the state Supreme Court after an appeals court ruled Wednesday that a measure asking voters to approve such a measure could not appear on the Novemb

    August 21, 2014

  • Police Reports Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleMonday:Home repair fraud reported in the 1300 block of Vacketta Drive.Tuesday:Trespassing in the 900 block of Wakley Drive.Theft in the 400 block of Gilbert Street.Theft in the 100 block of Grace Street.Th

    August 21, 2014

  • Board pleased with dress code compliance

    DANVILLE — Although the school year is young, Danville District 118 administrators and school board members are pleased with implementation of the new dress code.

    August 21, 2014

  • Art group plans open house

    August 20, 2014

  • Barbecue contest opens

    August 20, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 20, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers
NDN Video
Rapper Almost Walks Off CNN Over Ferguson Coverage Whoa! Jimmy Fallon Shaves Jared Leto's Beard Amazing Encounter With Sea Otter Caught on Video 2 American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital VIDEO: Goliath Grouper eats shark in one bite US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Motorcyclist Sticks Landing Sicilian hilltop homes on sale for one euro Are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Breaking Up? Joel McHale Interviews Chelsea This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan
Must Read