Mary Roper may have retired from public service in January, but her presence will be felt in the county seat for decades to come, thanks to the planting of a tree in her honor last week.
Former colleagues and friends gathered on the lawn of the historic Inyo County Courthouse Friday to plant a young Colorado Spruce in recognition of the retired county clerk-recorder’s many years of service to Inyo and its citizens.
Roper began working in the Clerk-Recorder’s office in 1991 and personally organized more than 40 successful elections in Inyo County. She was elected to the office of Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters in 2006 and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2011.
Roper said it wasn’t so much of a job as it was a service to community.
Current Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Kammi Foote said during the tree planting ceremony, “If any of you know Mary, you would already know that planting a tree is an appropriate gesture to celebrate Mary’s career and her contribution to this community.
“Planting a tree is an act of responsibility. Throughout her career Mary has demonstrated her ability to be trusted with the responsibility to safeguard and uphold the laws of one of our most sacred rights as citizens – the right to vote.
“Planting a tree is an act of caring. No one can dispute the amount of care that Mary applied both to her duties as the clerk-recorder and to her co-workers and friends.
“The planting of this tree is also an act of restoration – restoring the original landscaping as it was designed in 1922. Anyone who knows Mary (and her sister Nancy) know that they are archivists at heart and strive to preserve and restore the history of Inyo County for the generations to come. The importance of which is so often overlooked in this world where we value youth and innovation and sometimes forget the significance of our past and those that made the present events possible.
“The planting of a tree creates beauty and enjoyment. I don’t need to elaborate on this one – we all know how this relates to Mary.”
For her part, Roper told those assembled Friday, “The wonderful thing about this honor is that this tree will also be engaged in a ‘public service’ of sorts. It will go on giving to others for years to come – it will give of its beauty to all of the visitors that drive through Independence, and, of course, to the residents and employees of Inyo County.
“Eventually this little tree will provide shade for the annual Fourth of July Parade. It will mitigate the unfortunate loss of the original Blue Spruce and make complete again the historic landscaping of our beautiful courthouse.”
Roper also said she was proud to be a self-proclaimed “tree hugger.”
“I want to thank everybody that has come today to watch this little tree go into the ground. Now go hug a tree,” Roper said.