Bill Johannes first tried retirement on for size when he was 55.

"After 30 years in the retail banking business with J.P. Morgan Chase, I thought it might be fun to sit and drink coffee and have all day to read the newspaper," he said. "I found out pretty quickly you need to have a routine and feel like you're contributing."

Soon after his first retirement, the opportunity to work with the village of Marble Cliff presented itself, and Johannes, a village resident, accepted.

It was supposed to be a temporary assignment, but Johannes has been contributing for nearly 17 years as the village's administrative assistant and mayor's court clerk.

He is retiring -- again -- Dec. 31.

"I don't really want to stop, but I think it's important for the village to get a new person on staff to have the time to learn the ropes and all the ins and outs of village government in case there's a time when the mayor or (Fiscal Officer) Cindy (McKay) step down," Johannes said. "It's hard to believe in a village of 573 residents, but the complexity of government and taking care of residents' needs is growing."

The task of serving the public has been rewarding and enjoyable, he said.

"Perhaps it comes from my experience of working in the retail side of banking and working in customer relations, but the position with the village was such a good match for me," Johannes said. "I really enjoy working with residents and making them satisfied with their choice of Marble Cliff as the village they live in."

Johannes and his wife, Gail, moved to Marble Cliff in 1981. Their house belonged to Gail Johannes' grandmother and has been in the family for 104 years.

That connection to the village has made his job more meaningful, Bill Johannes said.

"Our residents are my neighbors and my friends," he said. "If someone calls the village with an issue or problem they're having, I want to go out and talk to them about it, or Cindy or the mayor will.

"I don't think you're able to have that kind of personal response in the city of Columbus or a larger suburb," Johannes said.

"Over the years, we've been able to make so many improvements to the village, with the new streetlights and street signs, enhancing our landscaping and our street program," he said.

He said the installation of the streetlights, completed in 2016, and street signs two years earlier was satisfying.

"The street signs were important because they gave us our own identity and branding," Johannes said. "Before that, when you would say, 'I live in Marble Cliff,' people would say, 'Where is that?' "

Previously, the village had a "mishmash" of light fixtures, with a variety of designs, he said. Some of the lights worked better than others.

Now, the village has a uniform design for its streetlights, with LED bulbs that are efficient and provide safety and security for residents, he said.

Johannes has been an invaluable asset to the village, Mayor Kent Studebaker said.

"He has a knowledge of the village and an understanding of the expectations our residents and businesses have," Studebaker said. "He knows exactly what the village should be doing for them. It's almost like it's anticipatory."

One of Johannes' greatest talents in horticulture is displayed in the garden he maintains at his home, Studebaker said.

"Bill's expertise in that area has been important for us in our landscaping and managing the contractors we bring in," he said. "He's able to analyze their proposals and understand what would be best for the village's look and appeal."

Most of all, Johannes "is a kind, nice person," he said.

"Bill's easy to work with and a true friend," Studebaker said. "He will be missed. The good thing for us is that while he won't be in the village office on a daily basis, he and Gail will still be just around the corner."

The village is interviewing applicants to fill Johannes' position.

"We hope to have someone hired before the end of the month so they can have a little time to train with Bill," Studebaker said.

Johannes said he has been fortunate to work with "such wonderful people -- the mayor, Cindy and the people who serve on council. They help make my job a pleasure."

Having already visited 30 countries, Johannes said he and his wife plan to continue traveling now that both are retired.

"We have a lot of friends who live in the South who are always asking us to come visit," he said. "We can go now and if it snows up north, we'll be able to stay a few days longer."

The couple also will continue their philanthropic efforts with programs they've established through the Columbus Foundation.

The Gail Johannes Award recognizes staff at the OSU Medical Center for their longtime service; the William C. Johannes Veteran's Award provides financial assistance to veterans enrolled at Columbus State Community College.

Next spring, the couple plan to begin a grant program to honor an outstanding Grandview Heights City School District teacher.

"It's our way of giving back to our community, which has been so good to us," Johannes said.

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