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Town recorder Koepp set to retire
Town’s ‘first hire’ reflects on history, time in Farragut


Mary Lou Koepp at work in her Town Hall office.- Preston Flanders/farragutpres
Mary Lou Koepp could be considered a mobile person.

She has bumped around town a lot since moving to Farragut in 1975 and later taking a job as town recorder Oct. 6, 1980.

Her tenure has included stints at three different Town Hall locations.

“All we had to start with was a telephone, typewriter and a rented copy machine,” Koepp said of the first Town Hall location, a single room in the rear of Prestige Cleaners at Farragut Center.

“We started out very humble,” she added with a grin.


Whereas most new employees are overcome with the transition into a new job, Koepp, who is responsible for keeping financial and other official records for the town, said it “was very quiet” her first day on the job.

“Nobody really knew what the town of Farragut was or where it was. When I got lonesome I’d call the copy repairman,” she joked.

Needless to say her workload picked up as the town adopted zoning and sign ordinances and moved to the second Town Hall location in 1983; two offices, one behind the historic Campbell home on the corner of North Campbell Station and Kingston Pike, and the second on the corner of South Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike, now home to West Knox chiropractic offices.

“There was so much to get in place,” she said. “At first we had to adopt Knox County ordinances for the area until we could get our own in place.”

As a result of the workload the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Municipal Planning Commission each met once a week. The respective boards now meet twice a month at the current Town Hall location, opened in 1991 on Municipal Center Drive.

To date, Koepp estimates she has recorded minutes for more than 550 FBMA meetings. She has also worked with 16 different boards and two mayors, Bob Leonard and current Mayor Eddy Ford.

“They have all been really nice. All the aldermen are good people,” she said. “They really lookout for the welfare of the town.”

Koepp said Ford was looking out for her when the original Town Hall almost caught fire in 1983.

“I was at home eating dinner when he (Ford) called,” she said. “He said, ‘Mary Lou, I’m sitting at your desk right now and the center is on fire. What do you want me to save?’”

“People came and we got everything we could and put it in a pick-up truck and the trunk of my car,” she added. “We mostly put in all the important documents.”

The fire was eventually extinguished before it reached the town’s offices.

In addition to all the multiple moves, Koepp has seen the town grow from a place no one could pinpoint on a map to a highly demanded place to live and work.

“It’s grown a lot. There has been a tremendous amount of building, both residential and commercial,” she said.

The town boards have also been able to shape how the community looks, she added.

“We’ve put our stamp on development as far as how it looks and the attractiveness,” she said.

Koepp has put her stamp on the town recorder position. Her position was the first full-time position filled by the town after its incorporation in 1980.

And Koepp’s office in Town Hall isn’t without some awards on display. She received The Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Association of Municipal Clerks and Recorders on Sept. 24, 2003.

“I was completely surprised,” she said of receiving the award at the association’s meeting in Nashville.

“Everybody knew about it, but they kept it a secret from me.”

Even the presenter of the award was a surprise for Koepp. It was Ford, who recommended her for the honor.

“He drove all the way over there for that,” she said, adding that he also made a speech.

THE END OF AN ERA

Koepp will retire July 1, 2004.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet,” she said, “maybe some travelling.”

Koepp has already collected a few stamps on her passport, having visited Europe three times, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Before she ends her tenure, she will help train her successor.

What advice would she give the person who fills her position?

“Know where to go to get information,” she said. “Things always come up that have not happened before … know your resources.”

A CHEESEHEAD NO MORE

Before moving to Farragut, Koepp and her husband, Tom, lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

She received a bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and taught in the Milwaukee, Wisc., and Rochester, Minn., school systems for almost 10 years.

The couple now lives in the Village Green subdivision in Farragut, where they have called home for the last 28 years.

The Koepp’s have two daughters, Tammy and Tracey, and four grandchildren.

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