ST. PETE BEACH — Drusilla "Drue" Salsinger Dailey will live forever in this city's memory.
Ms. Dailey was one of the city's first employees and served as city clerk until her retirement in 1987 after 30 years of service. She died Monday at 92.
Ms. Dailey, then known as Drue Salsinger, was the first city clerk in Pinellas County to be awarded the designation of Certified Municipal Clerk. During her 16-year tenure as city clerk, Ms. Dailey also served at least twice as acting city manager.
"We are expected to know virtually everything about the operation of the city and how to accomplish all that needs to be done," she said in a biographical sketch she wrote in 1978. "Although it is hectic at times, it is certainly never boring."
Just the year before, she spent months researching the law to make sure residents' recall petitions seeking to oust the city's mayor were handled properly.
Although the recall election never happened, she quickly found herself immersed in preparing for citywide commission elections that she later said were "conducted in a competent and efficient manner."
In 1979, she also began sorting through 200 boxes of city records dating back to 1957 that had to be copied onto microfiche to comply with a new state records retention law.
Another of her pet projects was compiling a pictorial history of the city, drawing from old photographs, newspaper and magazine articles.
Ms. Dailey was a native of Lewiston, Idaho, where her parents worked with members of the Nez Perce tribe of American Indians for the U.S. Indian Service.
She also lived in New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio and Michigan and spent three years in Europe with her then-husband, William L. Salsinger, who worked for the Coca-Cola Export Corp.
Ms. Dailey graduated from Steel High School in Dayton, Ohio, attended the University of Dayton and graduated from the Governmental Career Development Institute for Municipal Clerks.
During World War II, Ms. Dailey worked as a professional secretary. After her husband died in a car accident, she and her two children, 11 and 13, moved to Florida in 1955.
In 1958, she began working for the newly created city of St. Petersburg Beach (now St. Pete Beach) as the city manager's secretary.
The following year, she was named City Hall's "St. Pete Beach Personality of the Week."
She would work for four city managers and beginning in 1969 double as deputy city clerk before officially becoming city clerk in 1971.
Ms. Dailey was active in her new profession, serving as a charter member of the Florida Association of Governmental Secretaries and a member of the Florida Association of City Clerks, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, and the Pinellas County City Clerk Association.
In 1985, the commission issued a special proclamation thanking Ms. Dailey for her long and "faithful service" to the city.
She loved to travel, and was proud that she had visited virtually every state in the country.
She also enjoyed listening to books on tape, golfing, bridge and socializing with friends and family, and was a member emeritus in the Order of the Eastern Star, Gulf Beach Chapter No. 241.
"I like to sew my own clothes, hunt for shells on our beautiful west coast of Florida beaches, garden, cook and swim," she wrote. "I very definitely have sand in my shoes and can't think of a better place to live and work than exactly where I am."
Although she was a longtime resident of St. Pete Beach, Ms. Dailey lived in St. Petersburg at the time of her death.
She is survived by her daughter, Sandra Shields, son, Bill Salsinger, daughter-in-law Marcia Bradwick and her beloved cat, Maggie.
"She was the best mom I could have ever asked for," said her son. "She was always giving and always loving. We certainly put her through a lot of paces."
Her daughter fondly remembers the six months her mother spent with her in Spain in the early 1990s.
"She loved Spain. We must have seen every inch of it," she said.
Ms. Dailey's ashes will placed in a family plot at Sylvan Abbey in Safety Harbor after the holidays.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Friends of Strays.