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Senior Deputy at Deeds office enters retirement

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 1/11/22

Every workplace Darlene Littrell goes seems to turn into family. And with her retirement on the last day of 2021, Littrell will be missed by her coworkers at the Register of Deeds office after 20 years of work.

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Senior Deputy at Deeds office enters retirement

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Every workplace Darlene Littrell goes seems to turn into family. And with her retirement on the last day of 2021, Littrell will be missed by her coworkers at the Register of Deeds office after 20 years of work.  

A Shelbyville-native, Littrell graduated from Shelbyville Central High School in 1972 where she worked at what used to be Pencil Printing (later U.S Pencil and National Pencil) for 17 years. “I always knew I wanted to do office work,” she said.  

She then moved on to Mid-State Oils where, “They really were family there because everyone was related, and they took me in like family, too,” Darlene laughed. After over a decade with Mid-State Oil, Littrell was hired at the Register of Deeds office in 2001.  

Starting out, Littrell admits she didn’t know anything about deeds. “I didn’t even realize what a deed was. I knew you had to have something when you owned property, but I didn’t realize the difference between a deed and a deed of trust.” It was thanks to good mentors that Littrell learned fast.  

Always one to “greet with a smile,” Littrell admits she’s not much of a talker. Yet, one of her favorite responsibilities while Senior Deputy at the register of deeds office was helping people. Through the years she stayed on the team, forming long relationships with her co-workers, even through the moves and changes.  

With a career that’s spanned 50 years, learning to adapt to technology change has been a challenge.  

When Littrell started out, information was stored through tome-sized leatherbound books in vaults. Sifting through them was interesting most of the time, especially if she found a name she recognized.  

“I enjoy all the back indexing because I get to see a lot of names that I knew from way back,” she said. “It just brings back memories.” And, plus, since it took more time, Littrell said she could build relationships with people through that face-to-face interaction.  

“A lot of this,” Littrell said, motioning to the walls lined with the heavy, thick books, “is on our computer now. Used to, we would have to come and pull these big books and write on the margins the releases. Now, we just look it up on the computer.”  

“We would have dozens of people doing their research—title research, mortgages—and our vault would be full,” she recalled.  

“But it was nice. We would get to see people. And now, we don’t get to see many people anymore.”  

Littrell said she has seen a lot of growth in home ownership over the years as Bedford County grows. “What worries me is when everything comes apart,” such as the housing crash in 2009, when people were buying property when the interest rates were low, but you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. “We did a lot of trustee deeds when people lost their homes,” Littrell recalled.  

But, Littrell said she is excited for many things in Bedford. She complemented County Mayor Chad Graham, saying, “I think he’s done a great job. I really think he’ll do a lot of improving.”  

For the young adults looking to move to Bedford, Littrell advises them to use their foresight—even though it may seem a long way off—and plan for retirement by looking for a job with good benefits.  

“All of us, we’re just like family. It’s like leaving family. And Johnny (Reed), I couldn’t ask for a better boss. He just treats us like family,” she said.  

For now, Littrell says her plans for retirement will be spending time with her own family, especially her grandbaby 

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