Steamboat Springs With a newly applied Steamboat bumper sticker, Tracey Epley will get in her Subaru and go back to Houston on Sunday, possibly listening to a little Dean Martin along the way.
“I’m anxious to go home, I’m ready to go home,” said Epley, the longtime jury commissioner and clerk of court for the Routt Combined Court. “It’s an honor and a privilege to work for the state of Colorado, but I’m ready to get back into the private sector. It a whole ’nother ballgame.”
For more than 10 years, it has been Epley’s job to make sure the courts run smoothly. With a staff of about a dozen people, the clerks at the court make sure case files are kept organized, the judges have what they need and protection orders and warrants are recorded correctly.
“If we don’t do our job right, it could compromise the safety of the community, and that’s why we take our jobs very seriously,” Epley said.
Those who work with her say she is the best boss they have ever had because she is fair and works hard.
“Tracey has been an outstanding clerk of court, and perhaps more importantly, she is an absolutely outstanding human being,” said Evan Herman, district administrator for the 14th Judicial District, which encopasses Routt, Moffat and Grand counties. “Her professionalism, energy and integrity have been the hallmark of her work, always looking for better ways to complete our work and always trying to make our office the very best it can be.”
Epley is leaving to be closer to family and to take a job as director of administration for the prestigious international law firm of Fulbright and Jaworski. She will be based at the 52-story Fulbright Tower skyscraper in Houston, which is where Epley is from.
“It’s a new adventure and a wonderful opportunity,” said Epley, 52. “It’s the third chapter of my life, and I’m gonna play like it’s the fourth quarter.”
She moved to Steamboat 18 years ago to raise her two sons, so it’s somewhat appropriate that her last day working in Steamboat is the same day her youngest son, Zack, graduates from the University of San Francisco.
Epley said she will miss her daily lunchtime hikes up to the quarry, her friends and living in a small town.
“You know everybody in town,” Epley said. “That I will miss.”
A few tears will likely be shed today when she says goodbye to her colleagues, but she has been enjoying her final days in Steamboat with friends and colleagues.
During a going-away party Wednesday, Epley led her co-workers in singing Dean Martin’s “Houston,” with lyrics personalized for Epley.
“A bit of sadness is what I feel,
Tradin’ mountains for concrete and steel,
But I’ll probably be changin’ my tune,
When I ain’t clearin’ snow in June,
Goin’ back to Houston, Houston, Houston.”
Routt County Judge James Garrecht said Epley would be greatly missed and that she will be an asset for the Houston law firm.
“She was a very hard worker, high energy, smart, great people skills, always upbeat and optimistic, and she was a positive influence upon everybody,” Garrecht said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com