Joy Naifeh honored in packed reception

Retiring Creek County Election Board Secretary Joy Naifeh was given a splendid retirement party Friday afternoon in the old Commissioners meeting room, downstairs in the Collins Building.

There was an assemblage of local and state dignitaries, as well as family friends present, and former co-workers who came to congratulate and honor Ms. Naifeh for 51 years of meritorious civil service.

Joy Naifeh smiles as she poses for a photo near a cake at her retirement reception, held on Friday at the Collins Building. The County announced Naifeh’s retirement on the previous Monday after over half a century of civil service. “I want to thank all the county employees, all the people here, who have helped me in these 51 years, and I will never forget you.” (Charles Betzler Photo)

Among those in attendance was the Honorable Douglas Golden, District Judge, the Honorable Rick Woolery, retired District Judge, Our illustrious District Attorney Max Cook, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Goforth, County Treasurer Don Engle, County Clerk Jennifer Mortazavi, State Senator Todd Gollihare, State Assistant Election Board Secretary Rusty Clark, and Secretary of State Brian Bingman, just to name a few.

Senator Golliahre began reading a Citation of Congratulations signed by former Senator James Leewright, Representative Mark Lawson, Speaker Pro Tempore Kyle Hilbert, and former Senator Ted Fisher.

Senator Todd Gollihare shakes Joy Naifeh’s hand at her reception after reading her proclamation. (Charles Betzler photo)

Senator Gollihare began by reading the Citation: “Whereas, Joy Naifeh started at the Creek County Election Board in 1972, and worked there until 1989. Joy left the County Election Board for a time to be a court reporter and worked at the State Election Board until 1995, then returned to Creek County to complete her career as the Secretary of the Creek County Election Board. Joy retires on April 28th, 2023, concluding fifty-one years of service to her state.

Whereas, Joy Naifeh has two children, Sarah and Sam, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, is active in many community events, civic and charitable organizations, including her church, Church of the Good Shepherd, which has a library named in her honor; and

Whereas, Joy Naifeh has seen many changes over the years, from counting ballots by hand, sealing wax, thread, and needles used to secure ballots, and was involved in all decisions, challenges, and successes of the Oklahoma Election Management System; and

Whereas Joy Naifeh has assisted many candidates through the process of filing for office, is respected for her knowledge of the Oklahoma election system and for her non-partisan conduct; and

Whereas, inasmuch as Joy has brought honor to her community and State through her 51 years of exemplary service to the people of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Legislature takes great pride in recognizing her and her many achievements.”

Joy was then awarded the citation by Senator Gollihare amid a standing ovation

“I made my speech on Monday. You know when I start talking I don’t have enough sense to quit, but I thank you so much Senator, it has all been a pleasure.”

She then recognized former State officials with whom she worked and concluded by saying, 

“I want to thank all the County employees, all the people here, my friends who have helped me in these 51 years, and I will never forget you. Thank you so much.”