By JOSHUA WOLFSON
After 19 years as Sonora finance director, Pat Perry is retiring today from her job with the city.
Although her days of minding Sonora's budget are over, Perry will continue in the role she truly loves that of city historian.
"I think I've done a good job as the finance director. That is what they pay me to do," she said. "(But) to me, what is the lasting legacy is the history."
As the volunteer city historian, Perry collected most of the 400 pictures and 50 artifacts of old-time Sonora that cover the walls of City Hall.
Her job involves painstaking research to track down descendants of former Sonorans, sometimes in other parts of the country.
"I suppose the best part for me is the people I've met over the past years," she said.
"Her job has been finances, but her passion is Sonora's history," said City Administrator Greg Applegate. "The city has been the benefactor."
Perry, 59, was hired as finance director in 1984 after working in the private sector as an accountant. While living in San Jose, she and her husband, Frank, purchased a vacation home at Cedar Ridge in 1977. They liked the Sierra foothills so much they made it their permanent home.
"I wanted to have some place that reminded me of Oregon," Perry said, where she spent summers as a child.
Although she was named the official city historian last year, Perry has pursued Sonora's history for almost two decades.
Shortly after Perry arrived at City Hall, Bonnie Chaty, then-Building and Planning Department secretary, compiled a list of Sonora's former mayors. Perry decided to search for their pictures and biographies.
Her research into Sonora's past grew into a regular, albeit unpaid, role.
"I've spent a lot of Saturdays and Sundays down here working on it," said Perry, who has a bachelor's degree in ancient history from San Jose State University.