Evie Comer, Our Community Credit Union’s branch supervisor in McCleary, will retire Aug. 1. She has greeted the credit union’s members for more than 35 years.
McCLEARY — Evie Comer has had many titles. Named after her great-aunt, Evelyn Tornquist, Comer grew up in McCleary and was the 1969 Bear Festival queen.
She’s also the granddaughter of the late Ernie Beerbower, mayor of McCleary in the 1960s for whom the city’s downtown park was named. A daughter of Edith and the late Fritz Soller, Comer is the sister of McCleary’s postmaster, Sherry Huff. She also has another sister, Lisa Everson, in Olympia.
A 1970 Elma High School graduate, Comer is a former state worker, a 35-year employee of Our Community Credit Union and has been supervisor of the McCleary branch since July 2004.
Aug. 1, the 60-year-old lifelong McCleary resident will become something else — retired.
Asked Monday about her retirement plans, Comer’s eyes quickly lit up.
“I’ve got three grandchildren,” she said, obviously looking forward to having more time to spend with the 5-year-old girl and two boys, 8 and 3. “They’re our pride and joy,” she said.
Comer’s husband of 40 years, Danny, who worked for Grays Harbor County for 30 years, retiring about a dozen years ago as the Road Department’s supervisor of the east end of the county, has “been the daycare person” for their grandkids, she noted. He also works part time in sales for Elma’s Bayview Redi-Mix.
The couple also enjoys salmon fishing, camping at Lake Roosevelt near Grand Coulee and look forward to some traveling.
Why is she retiring now?
“When is the right time to retire?” Comer asked rhetorically, indicating she had just decided, “OK, I think it’s time. You’re healthy; you want to do things.”
Comer has also been a person others have enjoyed associating with professionally and especially “how much she cares about the members and her fellow employees, said Dee Velasco, who has worked with Comer for four years and will become the new branch supervisor in August.
Comer is “always thoughtful, and she will be missed,” Velasco added.
‘Just a family’
The Simpson Employees Federal Credit Union was formed in 1941. “Logging was seasonal, and banks were unlikely to loan to a man for whom work was sometimes erratic,” the credit union’s website says.
In 2006, it became Our Community Credit Union “to better reflect a growing and diversified member base,” the website notes. And in 2010, approved by its members, the credit union became state chartered, opening its membership to state residents.
With headquarters in Shelton, the credit union has six branches, the Mountain View and the downtown branches in Shelton, McCleary, Elma, Montesano and Union.
The McCleary branch, originally located near where Peabody’s Paradise Pizza is now on Third Street, moved into its new digs at 424 Simpson Ave. in 1981. A coffee maker just to the right inside the door awaits adults entering. A large wire bead toy to the left welcomes the younger set.
The credit union is “just a family,” Comer said.
“We work with our members, people helping people,” she said. And “each individual’s different. It’s not just, ‘You’re a number.’ We get to know the families.
“That individual may not have the best credit score, but you know that they’re going to follow through, and they’re going to make their payment,” she said.
Comer, who has numerous family members of her own still in town, obviously knows what she’s talking about. She’s been part of the McCleary community, as well as Our Community Credit Union, long enough to know. And it’s not difficult to understand why she has.
“You ready to go to work,” a gentleman just coming in quips.
“Yeah,” Comer shoots back. “I’m always ready to go to work.”