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Addison clerk aims to return after operation

ADDISON — Longtime Addison Town Clerk Jane Grace said last week she is recovering well at home from major emergency surgery performed at Porter Hospital shortly after Town Meeting Day.
Grace stayed at Porter for slightly longer than two weeks after surgery, and returned home on March 24. On this past Thursday she said she has been strong enough to visit her barn and walk around her property.
“I feel I’m about 65 percent back,” said Grace, who in her 40th year on the job is the county’s longest-serving clerk. “I’m gaining every day.”
She said she was happy to grant an interview and update her condition.
“It’s so good to have my voice back. They had all these tubes down my throat,” Grace said.
Grace, who has announced her plans to step down at the end of 2012, said she fully intends to return to work as soon as possible. But when that can occur will be up to her doctor.
“I have a May 4 appointment,” she said.
Grace said she has not been discouraged by her medical woes, in part because of the strong support she has received from her family, during and after her hospital stay, and her husband, Phil Grace. 
“One was there all the time … They were with me constantly,” she said. “Phil’s been the best husband, taking care of me.”
Addison residents and other acquaintances have not forgotten her, either.
“I’ve had so many cards and so many thoughts and wishes,” she said. “It’s just been amazing.”
At the same time, Addison assistant clerk Marilla Webb said Grace has not forgotten Addison.
“The day after her surgery she called me and was telling me things that definitely needed to be done,” Webb said. “She always thinks of the town.”
Grace has continued to advise her longtime assistant if necessary.
“Always. We always work together,” Webb said.
The initial plan in Grace’s absence called for Webb and fill-in Margaret Anderson, who is helping out 16 hours a week, not to answer the phone during afternoon hours. But Webb said once Anderson came aboard they were able to maintain the regular commitment to phones as well as office hours.
The office is closed on Wednesday afternoons, but selectmen had already decided before Grace’s ailment to reduce office hours as a cost-saving measure, Webb said.
That schedule will remain in place when Grace returns, something Webb said she is confident will occur. 
“I’m planning that she’s coming back,” Webb said.
Regardless of the timetable for that return, Grace said she is on the mend.
“I’m getting stronger and stronger, and that’s what’s important,” she said.
 Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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