There has only ever been one executive director of the Ardmore Beautification Council.
That will soon change.
Norma Lynne Paschall has held her position at ABC since it officially became a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity in 1997. In that time, she and the many volunteers and board members who worked with her have instituted a number of programs set to make Ardmore more presentable.
"We've done things to help make Oklahoma beautiful, help make American beautiful, so many great things, and during all that time, Norma Lynn has been in that position," said ABC board president Regina Turrentine. "It will be difficult to fill her shoes."
Paschall announced her retirement officially Wednesday, but notified board members the prior week so they could begin the process of finding her successor.
Paschall said she has been considering retiring for the last few months and made the decision so she could spend more time with her family, traveling and spending more time gardening and watercolor painting.
"I'm just ready for the next chapter in my life, whatever it may be," she said. "I've had a lot of fun working with the volunteers, but it's time."
Since her appointment to the ED position, Paschall has been a part of many projects, including the fence at Rose Hill Cemetery, the removal of the old rusted oil tanks on west Broadway, saving the 100-year-old pecan tree at 12th Ave. NW and Commerce and overseeing landscape maintenance at Central Park.
She is most proud of the direction ABC and Ardmore has taken in development.
"It's great to see Ardmore grow, to see the people living here care so much about the community they live in and to see young people who have graduated from here come back to live here," Paschall said. "Hopefully, we can continue this."
Paschall was proud of the work she and the volunteers put in to making Ardmore more appealing aesthetically. Her idea is that a pretty city will attract more interest.
"You wouldn't buy a t-shirt if you didn't think it would look good," she said. "The same applies to Ardmore. You wouldn't move here if you didn't think it looked appealing.
"I'm looking forward to the free time, but I'll miss working here."
Turrentine said Paschall will be sorely missed and that they hope to find someone who can at least carry forward with the work that Paschall has held so dear for 16 years.
"Norma Lynn has been our one and only person in that position," Turrentine said. "We worked so beautifully together, it'll be hard to imagine the change."