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PROVO RECEPTIONIST RETIRES AFTER 22 ENJOYABLE YEARS OF GREETING PUBLIC AND TAKING CALLS AT CITY CENTER

SHARE PROVO RECEPTIONIST RETIRES AFTER 22 ENJOYABLE YEARS OF GREETING PUBLIC AND TAKING CALLS AT CITY CENTER

To many callers, Delores Last's pleasant voice was Provo City.

And as the City Center's only receptionist in its 22-year history, her face was often the first that visitors saw.But that changed recently. After nearly a quarter century of taking telephone calls and greeting people, Last has retired.

"It was an interesting job, and I really enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoy meeting people and talking to them. It was a pleasure every day I was there," she said.

Even when the phone calls were strange.

"I think people have a tendency to call the city for almost everything," Last said.

One time a young girl called for help because her cat was having kittens. Last arranged for city paramedics to make a house call.

Last fielded calls that often didn't have much to do with the city. She read newspapers to prepare for those inevitable questions about things going on in the community. Last also clipped news stories daily to keep a scrapbook of Provo history.

Although Last liked her job, she let others worry about answering the phone at home.

"I wasn't really tired of being on the phone, but at night when I was at home and the phone rang, I tried not to be the one to answer it," she said.

Last, 62, said the decision to retire was difficult.

Over the years, she made many friends, friends who where there for her during a difficult time. Last's husband, Ron, died of heart failure in September 1991 while working on the family cabin near Heber City. He was serving his second term on the City Council at the time.

Last found comfort in her PBX telephone office on the City Center's main floor.

"I could never have gotten through that first year. My co-workers and friends really rallied around me. It was a security blanket for me," she said. "It saved my life. It really did."

Now three years later, Last has found other things to fill the void. She intends to spend retirement visiting her 12 grandchildren and traveling. Last said she'll continue to make Provo her home.

"I think it's a great place. I can't think of any place I'd rather be than right here," she said.

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News staff writer.