OTIS -- Ann Pyenson has loved being the town’s tax collector.

For 26 years, Pyenson’s calm, pleasant demeanor has allowed her to handle residents -- some unwillingly -- pay their property, excise and other taxes and fees due the municipality.

"I enjoy working with townspeople," she said. "There’s always one or two [pause] thorns ... but I’m going to miss seeing them."

On Thursday, Pyenson, 67, officially retired from the position she has held since 1988, the year her replacement was born. Destiny Duris from Blandford has been training under her predecessor the past few weeks and will be formally sworn into the position on Monday.

"Ann has been a great teacher and I’ve been doing everything she does," Duris said. "I hope she continues to be my mentor."

Duris remarks came during an afternoon retirement party at Town Hall, attended by current and former town employees and elected officials.

They feted Pyenson with a basket of gifts and cards, along with a pendant inscribed with the town seal, her years of service and date of retirement.

Selectman Brain Crandall praised the Montana native for running a very efficient office.

"She knew what she was doing; she was very accountable," he said.

Town Clerk Lyn Minery found Pyenson to be a guiding force for all employed at the town hall.

"Ann keeps us in line - she’s our matriarch," Minery said.

In addition to tax collector, Pyenson is a former 25-year member of the Otis Volunteer Ambulance, served as the town clerk in 1980 and co-founded the Otis Stray Animal Fund. The four-year-old privately managed fund raises money to pay the medical expenses of dogs, cats and other domestic animals that are unwanted.

Pyenson will continue to oversee the fund and work her evening job in the bakery at the Big Y supermarket in Lee.

"I love to cook and I hope to see you there," she said.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233