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
  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 30, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Monday, 11-11:04 a.m. — An unintentional alarm activation at 1714 E. Fairchild St.Monday, 1:01-1:10 p.m. — A medical call in the 1200 block of Cleveland Street.Monday, 3:59-4:16 p.m. — A carbon monoxide i

    July 30, 2014

  • YMCA offers new college, career program DANVILLE — The Danville Family YMCA plans to launch a new college and career readiness program during the 2014-2015 school year called YMCA Achievers. YMCA Achievers is a college and career readiness program offered at more than 1,400 YMCAs across th

    July 30, 2014

  • DATS begins East Main discussion DANVILLE — The Danville Area Transportation Study, along with the city and The Lakota Group, invite the public to join them in a new way to help imagine the future of Danville’s East Main Street Corridor. An online virtual public engagement forum has

    July 30, 2014

  • EU adopts tough new sanctions on Russia BRUSSELS — Shocked into action by the downing of the Malaysian airliner and the resulting deaths of more than 200 Europeans, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions Tuesday against Russia, to be followed swiftly by similar

    July 30, 2014

  • Mideast Israel Palest_Morr.jpg Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel on Tuesday unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas, striking symbols of the militant group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip’s only

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Starved Rock Closed T_Morr.jpg Starved Rock trails still closed from storm damage UTICA — A majority of the 13-mile trail system at Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois remains closed because of significant storm damage that happened four weeks ago.The park is waiting for an emergency contract to be awarded for tree remova

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three arrested in Rothery robbery DANVILLE — City police have made three arrests in connection with a brazen armed robbery Tuesday morning in downtown Danville.The robbery was reported just after 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rothery Jewelers, 147 N. Vermilion St. City officers and county deput

    July 30, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleSunday:Battery in the 100 block of South Buchanan Street.Monday:Burglary in the 1300 block of Lape Street.A woman arrested for domestic battery in the 100 block of North Logan Avenue.Deceptive practice in

    July 30, 2014

  • School sign-up begins

    July 29, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)
Must Read