After 50 years of service with the Herr family, Diana Tull announces her resignation. An Open House in Tull’s honor is scheduled for Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Thomas E. Herr Law Offices, 1040 W. Howard St., Pontiac.▲
At 17, Diana Tull could never have dreamed that a secretary job advert she found in the Daily Leader’s classifieds would become her career for the next 50 years. Since hiring in 1968, Tull has had the privilege of working for three generations of Mr. attorneys, Jesse J. Herr, James J. Herr and current attorney Thomas E. Herr.
A Retirement Open Day in Tull’s honor will be held on Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Thomas E. Herr Law Offices, 1040 W. Howard St., Pontiac. Refreshments are served and guests are invited to contribute a plant for a future friendship garden.
“People ask, ‘How can you work on a job for so long?'” Tull said. “I say if you have the best, why go anywhere else? The Lord family treated me like family – whether it was a wedding or a funeral. They grew up with me and I grew up with them.”
After graduating from Cornell High School in June 1968, Tull was admitted to Midstate College in Peoria. Her goal was to study to become a secretary, but her teachers were her employers after all, because Tull was hired before college.
“I was fresh out of high school and had taken bookkeeping, handwriting, and shorthand classes, but I knew nothing about the legal business,” said Tull. “In the beginning I could type 90 words per minute and I took the abbreviation at 120 WPM.
“It was very common for me to be called into Jim’s room to dictate. 30 minutes later I might be writing 15 to 20 pages of shorthand. Jim had to explain everything to me about legal words, lawsuits – even how to do it right. He was a very patient.” Teacher and because he was a father of 10 he knew how to work and how to be a mother to sick children, he even let me bring a small camp bed to work when my children were sick and stay in the library with books, food and drink . “
Initially, Tull was one of three secretaries in the law firm, and they all typed on electric typewriters.
“We used erasers to correct our mistakes, and we used carbon paper to type most documents, including letters, for our office copy,” recalls Tull. “There was no ‘calling up’ a document for changes or corrections. You either had to use a typewriter eraser or retype it. You tried to type carefully so you wouldn’t make mistakes.”
One device that Tull will never forget was the thermal fax machine, an early version of today’s copier.
“It was a machine that used onion-peeled paper,” Tull said. “You put the document in the machine and you had to press a button for the ‘light’ to come on and count the seconds until the photo was taken. If you held the button too long, you had black paper – it was definitely a challenge. “
Although she grew up in Cornell, Tull had relatives in Flanagan, worked in Pontiac and still lives in Fairbury. With so many connections to communities across the region, Tull said she knew many people and made many friendships.
“I’ve worked with some of the office’s clients for four generations,” said Tull. “Clients ask for my opinion and advice from time to time. I always tell them, ‘I’m not the lawyer’ before giving my opinion. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll tell them I don’t . ‘I don’t want to give bad advice. “
During her 50-year tenure, Tull has been married to her husband Carl for 47 years. The couple raised three children, Chris, Mandy, and Kelly, and now have five grandchildren, Taylor, Tristan, Cassidy, Mattie, and Blaze. Tull’s husband retired from Caterpillar 12 years ago and retired from the Prairie Central School District almost two years ago.
“Fifty years is a long time,” said Tull. “But it feels like the blink of an eye. Now that my husband and I are retired, we look forward to spending quality time with our family and all of the short vacation trips we’ve talked about.”
Attorney Tom Herr said “gratitude” is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Tull’s years of service.
“I am grateful to Diane for working hard day in day out, year in year out to help our customers,” said Mr. “I’m also grateful for her professionalism and ability to stay positive and create a happy place every day. She has touched literally thousands of people over the course of her career. Several generations of customers have benefited from her dedicated service.”
Mr. also praised Tull for her secretary skills. He said she combines a high level of competence with genuine compassion and cares for the company’s customers.
“The fact that she has done this for so long and so well is truly remarkable,” said Mr. “Working in a law firm is not always easy. She has been on the front lines when clients call after a loved one dies or when they need our services. She shares the joys and sorrows our clients endure on a daily basis. She was a loving one and constant presence in their lives – always here and always ready to do what it takes. “
“Diana is someone to admire, the kind of person you turn to your daughters and say, ‘Be like Diana, she’s the kind of person you want to be. She’s a giver and she’s got that Family, the rewarding life and career you want. ‘We can’t thank her and her family enough. We wish her all the best as she moves into the next chapter in her life.’ “