Posted on: June 21st, 2017

If you have worked with Craig for any length of time, chances are you have talked, corresponded or met with his legal secretary, Janice Lyon.  Janice is retiring on June 2 after almost 30 years at Grefe & Sidney.

Janice has been in the legal profession since she was 17 years old, getting her start working for a former state senator’s law practice in her hometown of Decatur, Illinois. Her husband’s job took them outside of Decatur to St. Louis, then Indiana, out east to Connecticut, then back to Southern Illinois before winding up in Des Moines in the late 1980s.  She has worked in many areas of the law including workers compensation, divorce, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, real estate, and more, but she likes probate work best, as you hear many interesting family stories and learn a lot about people’s lives.

Her job has evolved since she first started work as a legal secretary with a non-correcting regular typewriter back in 1967.  She remembers learning how to use dedicated word processor machines and later computers, which were a whole new language at the time.

One of the largest changes in her work came when Electronic Filing (e-filing) of documents became the norm in Iowa.  She says it changed things for the better and allows one to file documents within minutes, rather than days.  She has seen Craig’s practice grow exponentially over the years and estimates that she has witnessed over 1,000 Wills since starting at Grefe & Sidney.

Janice is looking forward to retirement and continuing her many hobbies including sewing, traveling, and yoga.  She loves to sew and sells crib sheets and play mats on her Etsy site, Gaga Sheets, named because her grandchildren call her Gaga.  She’s excited to spend more time with her husband, Dave, who has been “semi-retired” for about 5 years, as well as time with her 5 grandchildren.

Thank you Janice for your many years of hard work and dedication to Grefe & Sidney! We will miss you.  Congratulations on your retirement!

With Janice’s retirement, we have been fortunate to find a great person to take over as Craig’s legal assistant in the Des Moines Office.  Haylie McFarland joined our Des Moines office at the beginning of May.

Haylie is a Van Meter native and graduated in December 2014 from Grand View University with a major in Criminal Justice.  Following graduation, she spent time working in Oregon with children with developmental disabilities before returning to Iowa to begin work in the legal field.  She comes to our office after prior employment as a legal assistant.  Outside the office, you can find her enjoying the outdoors or spending time with her cat Pancake.  She is enjoying learning about different areas of law and looks forward to meeting you next time you are at our office.

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