TOM DORSEY/The Salina Journal Iva McPhail, in front of photos of the Sunset Plaza, enjoys good job security. Sunset Properties has employed her for 55 years. Secretary shows she has staying power After 55 years with Sunset Properties, McPhail has no plans for retirement By CAROL LJCHT1 The Salina Journal Pat Bolen walks by his secretary's office, pauses and announces: "You're still on probation, by the way." Iva McPhail smiles. After 55 years working for Bolen and his father, she knows it's just a joke. Besides, she has a strong sense of job security. "She's the only one who knows where everything is," Bolen said. At age 77, McPhail is still working at her first job out of college. "If I start something and like something, I stick to it," she said. McPhail, the secretary and administrative assistant for Sunset Properties Inc., started working for Bolen's dad, Dan, in 1943, when the business was Spradley-Bolen Real Estate. Her husband, Holland, had just gone into the service during World War n and she had returned to Perry Brown College — now Brown Mackie College — to brush up on her skills working in the school office. "That's when Dan Bolen called asking if they had anyone who could start right away," she said. Pat Bolen was about 7 at the time. "She would be the first one I'd meet when I walked into my dad's office," Pat said. "She was the one to give me my weekly allowance." "He was only allowed so much and I couldn't give him more," she said. "Now he's my boss." She worked for Dan Bolen until his retirement in 1977. Pat, who had been working in the business, took it over af- ter his father retired. She worked mostly part-time, taking time off when her two children were born. But calls from the office to work an hour here or there kepther involved. The business became Bolen-Wood Real Estate, and it took up insurance as well. Eventually, it took the name Sunset Plaza Inc. because the Sunset Plaza Shopping Center was owned by the business. When that property sold, the business became Sunset Properties Inc., which is now at 200 S. Santa Fe. McPhail outlasted the name changes and a couple of moves. At last, she has her own office, with two windows. And she's got a name plate on the door. She's gone from a manual to an electric typewriter, but never made the jump to a computer. "I'm probably the only one in town still taking shorthand," she said. That's how she takes down the letters Pat Bolen dictates. She also does the bookkeeping and works with Sunset Properties' tenants. "She has a charming personality and works so well with our tenants," Pat Bolen said. "She's never sick. She's always on time. If she's not here, I call because I know there's something very wrong." McPhail credits her longevity to good health, her predecessor in the job and good bosses. "More or less you just have to go with the flow," she said. "Listen and learn." When McPhail's husband died 14 years ago, Bolen asked if she wanted to continue working. She accepted. She continues to work every morning for three hours. So when will she retire? "As long as I have good health and Pat will keep me, I'll keep working," she said.
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