The Benton County boardrooms were converted into a reception hall Wednesday afternoon for a farewell party for Anne Schuster, who is retiring at the end of the year.
More than 50 people, from elected officials to current and former county employees to local business owners, turned out to pay their respects to Schuster as she wraps up a four-year term on the Board of Commissioners.
“I think we will all miss her tremendously in terms of the energy and ideas and commitment she brought to our work,” said Commissioner Xan Augerot.
Schuster’s other fellow board member, Annabelle Jaramillo, also had kind words for her departing colleague.
“We’re going to miss you,” Jaramillo said. “We had our debates on a lot of issues, but I think that goes with the territory.”
District Attorney John Haroldson said Schuster, who lives in the Philomath area, provided a refreshing change from the generally negative tone of politics today.
“I think everybody would agree that if there’s one thing that defines you, it’s that you genuinely care about people,” he told her, “and it comes through in all of your actions and all of your words.”
Sheriff Scott Jackson thanked Schuster for her support of law enforcement and presented her with a plaque from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, while Philomath Fire Chief Tom Miller called her “a true friend of the fire service” and added, “I’m glad you live in my fire district.”
A number of people commented on Schuster’s prowess as a cook, in particular as a baker of office goodies, and most of those who spoke commented on her kindness.
Joe Kerby, who moved here from Colorado to become the county administrator in August 2017, said one of the things that sold him on the job was Schuster’s offer to let him and his family stay in her guest house while they were looking for a new home.
“I was thanking her for the opportunity, and her quote was, ‘Joe, it’s the neighborly thing to do.’”
Schuster’s term officially concludes on Dec. 31. Pat Malone, of Kings Valley, who was elected in November to fill Schuster’s Position 1 seat, will be sworn into office on Jan. 3.