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Retirement On Tap For Building Inspector
After 14 years with the City of Escalon, Building Inspector Marlene Himes has seen it all and probably knows the city from the inside out better than just about anyone.

Himes will retire from her post on Friday, April 25, leaving to enjoy time with her new grandson, her already retired husband and to do some golfing, boating and relaxing.

She worked for the City of Modesto as a building inspector and prior to that, designed custom homes, eventually moving in to city employment with Escalon as its first female building inspector.

"I had to learn all the building codes to design the homes," Himes said of getting involved initially in the technical end of design. "I'd originally gone to school and went into clerical work."

Her interest in designing homes led her to take architectural engineering codes classes at Modesto Junior College so she could learn to draw plans and she moved from designing to inspecting, a move she feels was a natural progression.

Born in Denair, she has lived in the Central Valley area her entire life and admits that, even now, there aren't too many female building inspectors.

"I was pretty much a pioneer in the state," she said. "I'd go to conferences and workshops, it would be 500 men and me.

"You were certainly doubted and earlier in my career, they were often taken back a bit."

Himes has converted any doubters over the years, though, as those builders dealing with the City of Escalon have come to accept her as a peer, not a novelty in the business.

Working closely with Himes is City Planner Duane Peterson, who acts now as her supervisor in the Community Development Department.

"Her general professional knowledge is going to be a great loss to the city, that, combined with her institutional knowledge of the community," he pointed out. "Personally, she's such a joy to be around but I'm a touch jealous now, she just smiles too much ... she's definitely earned her retirement."

City Manager Greg Greeson added that, as testament to her professionalism and expertise, being a female in a typically male-dominated field has not held Himes back.