Gayle Huff, 39-year veteran Ada car dealership office manager, retires today. The staff at Seth Wadley hosted a surprise retirement party for her Thursday.

Huff started working at Service Chevrolet in 1981. Back then, Bob Johnson and Hugh Warren ran the dealership on North Broadway in Ada.

"I've always worked in this building," Huff said. "When I first started, we didn't have computers. We got out our ledger books with our number two lead pencils and our black ink pens and went to work.

"Bob Johnson was my mentor. He took me under his wing and taught me GM (General Motors) accounting, for which I am forever grateful."

Service Chevrolet became Seth Wadley Chevrolet Buick in 2016.

"When Seth and his bunch came along, they were very modernized," Huff said. "They taught me a lot about computers."

When Huff first came to work at the dealership, she answered the phone and hand-typed sales contracts.

"I guess I was what you would call a 'title clerk'," Huff said. "Bob Johnson made me office manager in the late 1980s. That's where I've been ever since."

Huff said she and her husband James had travel plans for their retirement, but that's been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We had a trip planned to the Cayman Islands, but the island is closed, so we had no choice but to cancel," Huff said. "But because of the wonderful people I work for, Seth was able to rent my husband and me an ocean house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, for a week. So in June, we're going to Gulf Shores. That's kind of exciting."

"James and I had worked together here for years," Huff said. "Fate, for some reason, brought us together. On June 22, 2013, we married."

"Retirement is kind of bittersweet," Huff said. "Of course I'm ready for the (next) chapter of my life."

Huff has two children, Michelle Bryant and Allen Musser, with her first husband Dean Musser, who passed away in 2011.

"I've had a lot of emotional ups and downs," Huff added. "The people at the dealership have always been my family and stood behind me and supported me, and for that, I am forever grateful."

"Gayle's been with us for 39 years at this same location," Robbie Birney, general manager at Seth Wadley, said. "She's been an absolutely awesome person to work with. She's the epitome of a loyal worker. There just aren't that many people who stay in one place for all those years. She's in a class by herself."

Huff's party included balloons, a cake and the gift of a commemorative clock.

Richard R. Barron | The Ada News

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