Stay busy to stay young recommends retiring Moffat County records administrator |

Stay busy to stay young recommends retiring Moffat County records administrator

Advancing macular degeneration has forced 87-year-old Jill McCandless to retire from her work as a records administrator for Moffat County, a job she started as a volunteer in 2003. McCandless, center, is pictured with the two elected clerks she served — her daughter, Elaine Sullivan, left, and Lila Herod.
Sasha Nelson/staff
Facts about macular degeneration • Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans — more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. • At present, macular degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease. • Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records images and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing the central vision in the eye, and it controls the ability to read, drive cars, recognize faces or colors and see objects in fine detail. • There are two basic types of macular degeneration: “dry” and “wet.” Approximately 85 to 90 percent of the cases are the dry type, while 10 to 15 percent are the wet type. • There is no known cure for macular degeneration, but steps can be taken to reduce risk of the disease and possibly slow the progression once diagnosed. These include diet, exercise, avoiding smoking and protecting the eyes from ultraviolet light. Source: American Macular Degeneration Foundation,

CRAIG — Marriage licenses from Moffat County dating back as far as 1911 are readily available due to the hard work and dedication of an 87-year-old woman, who was celebrated by friends, family and co-workers at the Moffat County Courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

“I enjoyed every minute of it. They are great people, and I learned a lot about the county,” said retiring records administrator Jill McCandless.

After a full career of office administration and raising three daughters — Elaine Sullivan, a former Moffat County treasurer and clerk and recorder; business owner Nancy Bauman; and artist Jennifer Gunderson — McCandless volunteered in the records section of the clerk’s office in 2003, after her daughter, Elaine Sullivan, was elected to the position.

She worked on back indexing projects, importing county records into a searchable website.

One of her accomplishments has been to transfer all paper marriage license records from 1911 to the present, said County Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod.

Herod hired McCandless to work for the county when she replaced Sullivan as the elected county clerk.

McCandless was 16 years old when she moved from Denver to Craig.

“In 1948, they started paving the streets. That was a big change,” McCandless said.

The McCandless family has a long history of serving the community.

Daughter Elaine served as clerk and recorder from 2003 to 2010, then, as treasurer for four years, ending in 2015. McCandless’ husband, Neil McCandless, was a Moffat County commissioner in 1972 and a veterinarian for more than 50 years.

“I try not to get too involved in politics,” McCandless said.

She said she likes to stay busy, and her past is evidence of that. She served as a Girl Scout troop leader, was active in the Parent Teacher Advisory Committee, sang in a local choir and, even now, isn’t entirely happy about the prospect of retiring. However macular degeneration — a progressive disease that causes loss of central vision — has made reading records very difficult for her.

Herod said she hopes McCandless will be a frequent visitor to the courthouse, as she has been an inspiration to those who work in the building.

“She has been an example for everyone. She is the most conscientious person. She has an amazing work ethic. She’s on time, never taking too long on her breaks, and always puts in a full day,” Herod said. “I would love to follow her example in every way, except that, I don’t plan to work here when I’m 87.”

McCandless is looking forward to spending time at home “doing what I want,” though she said she won’t be sleeping in. “My dog makes sure I wake up early,” she said.

Her advice to others? “Stay busy. It keeps you young.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.