JEFFERSON CITY — He came to the Supreme Court Library in 1974 for a temporary job as a nighttime assistant.
Just more than 35 years later, Tyronne Allen is to retire June 1 as the head librarian.
"When I first came, I didn't know much about the law, and I didn't know anything about legal research," he told about 50 court employees — including the judges — during a retirement reception last week.
"But through those 35 years I've been sold (on it) — I'm not a lawyer, but now I know a lot about the law."
Allen noted that three of the current high court judges — Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith, Mary Rhodes Russell and Zel Fischer — began their legal careers as clerks for previous judges.
Stith told the reception: "He provided me with just so much advice and so many wonderful ideas (and) I was so glad when I came back here and saw that friendly face," she said.
"It will be so different when he's not here, so I made him promise to come back and visit," Stith said.
Allen said he always looked forward to going to work, to a job "that gives me joy."
One of the best parts of his job, he added, was helping those who came with questions about specific areas of the law.
Although regulations allowed him only to help them find the right books and materials to use, he said: "When you can see their smiling face leave the library (and know) that you helped them, it just makes you feel good."
Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr said, "What we see in Tyronne is that the face of government service is the face of friendliness and helpfulness."
Allen and his wife, Saundra, who also is retiring this spring after 37 years teaching that includes the last 21 years as East School's art teacher, expect to travel a little and spend more time volunteering with several organizations.
Saundra Allen thanked the court for being a second family.
"I thank all of you for so many, wonderful years," she said.
She then joked: "Even though you may not see us in the building, we may be lurking around, peeking in the windows."