Mavis Krista retired last week after 45 years working in the legal profession. She had been employed at the Frohling Law Office in Britton for the past 29 years.
Job After High School Becomes 45-Year Career
When Mavis (Tom) Krista graduated from Britton High School in 1973, she decided she wasn’t ready to go to college and took a job as a secretary/receptionist for local attorney Larry Gustafson.
Little did she know that first step would turn into a 45- year career working in the legal profession. Krista’s last day working for Frohling Law Office in Britton was last week Wednesday.
“I thought I would wait a semester before going to college and see what happened,” remembered Krista. “I figured I would end up with some type of secretarial job but never dreamt I would work for an attorney for all those years. It just kind of happened. I applied and got in with Larry, and once I started working I didn’t leave.”
Krista had not grown up with any desire to work in the legal profession, but she loved typing and when she began to work for Gustafson liked the variety of the job.
“There were so many different aspects to it. No two files are the same and it was always something different. I’ve always said that even after doing this for 45 years there was always something to learn – always a different twist and turn.”
Those 45 years of learning will be missed.
“Mavis could greet many of the people who came to the office as friends because she grew up in Britton and lived here most of her life,” said Dana Frohling. “Her many years of legal experience and knowledge easily made her the equivalent of a paralegal. Mavis was faithful, dependable, reliable, and friendly. She will be sorely missed at our office.”
Krista worked for Gustafson for five years before moving to Aberdeen where she worked with insurance at a bank for a year before getting a job with a law firm there. She and husband, Pete, an Eden native, moved to Pierre for 3½ years where she spent a year working for the state before she again went back to a law firm.
The couple moved back to Britton in January of 1984 when Pete got a job with Cenex and Krista began working part-time for attorney Phil Morgan. From there she went to work for Spiry & Frohling where she has been for the past 29 years.
“I feel I was blessed to be able to be at one job for 29 years,” noted Krista. “That has been a bonus for me and it’s been very fulfilling to stay at the same job for so many years. One thing that some of our young people need to know is that if you like what you’re doing and find that niche, you can be content and stay there for years. It’s not that you aren’t going to have some struggles along the way, but that’s all part of working.”
She was also more than happy to spend nearly all of that career in her hometown.
“I never had that desire to get out of Britton and go someplace huge. Experiencing Aberdeen and Pierre and then moving back to Britton was wonderful. It was nice to get back to family and raise our kids here.”
By working in one profession for over four decades, Krista has been a part of a lot of changes. “Technology has been huge.
“Technology has been huge. When I started for Larry he had a copy machine that we really didn’t use. Instead, we used onion skin paper and carbon paper. If I had to send out 10 copies I had to type it twice, and when we started using white-out that seemed wonderful.
“Then came the computer, and that of course has been the biggest change,” said Krista. “When I started with Larry we used shorthand, then a dictaphone with cassette tapes. Now it’s so much easier to get work done and make corrections, and so much is done now via email. Technology can make you more efficient, but we also now live in a society where people can’t wait, and they think they need things right away.”
What technology didn’t change was the camaraderie with fellow workers and interaction with clients, and those are things that Krista will miss most.
“I think I’ll probably miss my co-workers the most. You really get to know their family just from day-to-day visiting and know what is going on in their lives, and I will miss that. I also enjoyed getting to know the clients and forming relationships with some of them.”
But Krista also feels the time is right. “Your job is such a part of
“Your job is such a part of you. You get up and go to work, and work everything else around that 9-5. To this day I loved what I did, but all of a sudden the last couple of months it just kind of hit me that I was ready to retire.”
The Kristas are hoping to do a little traveling and spend more time with grandkids. And Mavis is looking forward to time to pick up a book and doing more reading. She can also look back to a working life well done.
“I took pride in my work and getting out a good finished product,” concluded Krista. “I just always wanted to do the best I could.”