VERSAILLES–Carla Hummel, who has dedicated most of her life to working for the Versailles of Versailles, is planning to end that 51-year stint on Friday when she officially retires.
She went to work for the Village Utilities Office, then known as the Board of Public Affairs, while an Office Education student at Versailles High School as a part-time employee in February 1972.
She worked in the school program for half a day and then went to work part-time in the village office, which then was located where the police department is today. Upon her graduation, it turned into a full-time position, and she was hired on May 3, 1972.
She answers to Administrator Mike Busse, but over the years, has also worked for such administrators as Dave Seibel, Randy Gump, and Rodd Hale. Mayors during her tenure included Pat Hiatt, Cyril Ploch, Chet Mcclurg, Larry Subler, Dick Christian, and Jeff A. Subler.
Having lived in the country with her family, she did not get involved with too many activities at school, except for Office Education. However, she joined the school chorus for a few years.
“I went to Versailles school for two years, then North Star for two years, and the rest of the time was spent in Versailles,” Carla said.
“I started out dealing with bills and processing payments, setting up accounts, information collection for reports, and lots of customer service at my job,” she said. “At first, we did everything by hand and eventually went to a billing machine and then computerization. I had to train myself.”
The Village Utilities Office handles electric, water, sewer, and garbage services.
“AMP Ohio gives us legal advice,” noted Carla, who now happily works with two artificial hips.
She has her own office at the facility, which is now located at 177 N. Center St.
“Eventually, it was decided to build this building,” she said. “A drive-thru, and they’ve added more space.”
During COVID, the village office had limited off time.
“We were closed a month or so and kept things cleaned up,” she said.
The daughter of the late Carl and Normalee (Stephan) Neff, she was one of three children.
She has a brother, Paul Neff, and a sister Sarah Graves….and they all live on the same farm.
Her father died in 1998, and her mother in 2005.
Carla is married to Gary Hummel, who recently retired from North Star Hardware and Implement. Set to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on Sunday (May 3), they initially met at a roller skating party at the rink at Versailles, and their lives crossed again at the Darke County Fair.
“Then, he called me one time and wanted me to go out with him in my junior year,” she recalled.
Of course, she did.
Now, they are the parents of two daughters, Misty Agne and Miriam Poteet, both residing in Kentucky with their families.
“I also have a dog, and my brother-in-law Perry Graves takes care of him,” she said.
Misty is living in Shelbyville, Ky., and is a speech pathologist, while her husband, Tim Agne, is a teacher in Louisville. They have two children, Natalie, 15, and Samuel, 11.
Michelle, a math professor, living in Fort Thomas, Ky., with her family, husband Perry Poteet (an ear, nose, and throat specialist) and their children, Lydia, 14, Hannah, 12, Abigail, 10, and Jacob, who will soon turn 8.
Outside the office. Carla is active in her church, St. Paul’s Lutheran, near North Star.
“I have been the organist since I was 14 or 15,” she said. “I took piano lessons when I was a kid, but I wouldn’t practice hard, so I quit. Then I took it up on my own, starting with hymns. I taught myself to play at church.”
Not only does she do that, she helps out with other things.
“I am involved in the church. If there is something to do, you should help,” she said. “The ladies of the church make quilts, and they are given to charity.”
Her hobbies are working in the yard and mowing grass. She and Gary mow at some cemeteries.
Who has been her mentor over the years?
“God Himself. My parents who advised me too; my co-workers; and I learned a lot of things from other people,” she replied. “I live a very simple busy life, and that’s how I like it. I also like my pets, Billy, the dog, and Bob, the cat, a stray.”
She occasionally likes to go with her husband Gary to one of his tractor pulls, especially at ones held east of Piqua at the campgrounds.
“I’m content to be at home on the back porch, reading a book and messing with the flowers,” she concluded.
In celebration of Carla’s service to the community and with her impending retirement, the village is having an open house event on Friday (Sept. 1) from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Village Administrative Offices at 177 N. Center St.
Residents, utility customers, friends, and family are welcome to stop by for light refreshments and to wish Carla well in her retirement from the village.