Ozark County native Glois Appleton retires from Springfield job after 55 years there

A slide show presented during Glois Loftis Appleton’s recent retirement party commemorating her 55 years at the BKD Accountants and Advisers headquarters in Springfield included these photographs of her now – and when she joined the company at age 18 in 1966.

Glois Appleton and her husband, Lewis, show the retirement plaque her fellow BKD employees signed, wishing her well. The plaque was presented to her at the party given in her honor in the Springfield office.

When Glois Appleton was hired at BKD in 1966, she worked at a table with a pad of a pencil, a pad of 13-column paper, and a hand-cranked adding machine like this one.

Glois Loftis Appleton, center, attended the Gainesville High School reunion Sept. 4 with her sisters, Sharon Loftis Hawkins, left, and Joyce Loftis Strejcek.

When Ozark County native Glois Loftis Appleton started her first job out of high school in 1966 – after a year at what is now Missouri State University and a couple of months in a business program – she sat at a table at BKD Accounting Services in Springfield equipped with a pad of 13-column paper, a pencil and hand-cranked adding machine. 

The job paid $65 a week – $15 per week more than jobs that paid the then-minimum wage of $1.25 an hour. Not bad for an 18-year-old. 

Glois was one of the company's 12 employees, and she settled into the job and enjoyed the work – which she continued for more than half a century.  Glois retired at the end of August after 55 years with BKD, a company that now has thousands of employees working in 40 offices in 18 states. 

Working at the accounting firm was the only employment Glois has ever had since graduating from Gainesville High School in 1965 as the class valedictorian. In fact, she's worked for BKD longer than she's been married to her husband, Lewis, whom she married in 1970.  They live in Nixa.

Glois grew up mostly in Ozark County with her sisters, Sharon Loftis (Hawkins) and Joyce Loftis (Strejcek). All three were born in Dr. M. J. Hoerman's office in Gainesville. When Glois was 5, her parents, Eldon and Ruth Easter Loftis, moved the family to Wichita, Kansas, where Eldon worked for Boeing Aircraft Corporation. They moved back to Ozark County when Glois was in eighth grade.  

"When we moved back, Joyce and I came back before Mom and Dad did because they were getting the house sold and finishing up stuff in Wichita. We stayed at our grandparents' home at Willhoit, and for two to three months, we attended the one-room Barren Fork School taught by Jean Herd," Glois said.

When the girls' parents returned to Ozark County, the reunited family settled in Nottinghill, where Eldon Loftis worked on and managed the farm owned by his brother-in-law Everett Rash, who lived in California. 

Through the rest of their growing-up years, the Loftis girls rode the school bus to Gainesville. Sharon, the oldest, graduated in 1961. Many area residents know Sharon from her many years working at the Mansfield Building Supply store in Gainesville. She and her husband, Ed, moved to Springfield six years ago. Ed died last year. 

Joyce graduated in 1966. She and her husband, Steve, now live in Willard. 


A job doing 'a lot of everything'

While she wasn't a CPA, Glois always loved bookkeeping and math, she said, and during her years with BKD she worked on "a lot of everything," including assisting the firm's business clients.

"I would work their stuff through the trial balance. At the end we would do the formal financial balance," she said. "I worked with the tax department and filled out tax organizers for a lot of the clients we did tax returns or payroll tax and sales tax returns for. Every client was different."

The work required her to be on the road at times, traveling all over southwest and central Missouri, driving and spending the day, and sometimes the night, helping clients with their books and different computer software.

She liked all the work, but her favorite thing was always working directly with BKD's customers. "I loved my clients," Glois said. "I've had some clients 45 years or longer."

As some of those clients, and even some of the former BKD partners, retired, Glois went to their homes to continue helping them with basic finances like balancing checkbooks and paying bills. That work morphed into helping them with personal matters too. 

The company newsletter, in a 2016 article commemorating Glois' then-50 years with the firm, noted that she "often went out of her way – working nights and weekends – to make sure [clients] received unmatched client service. 

"'These were my clients, not just BKD's. . . . I wanted to make sure they were taken care of,'" Glois said.

She recalled a time when a client called from the nursing home where he lived. "'He was getting ready to take a trip and needed help packing. He didn't have anyone else to help him, so I came by that weekend to see what I could do,'" she said in the BKD newsletter story. 

"The nursing home had packed him a bag, but it was too small for the length of the trip he was taking. Glois went home, grabbed some of her own personal luggage and brought it back for him to use. She also took him to the bank and made sure he had everything he needed for his trip," the story reported. Then she "wrote a note and put it on his bag reminding him to grab his billfold and medication before he left." 

In the 2016 story commemorating her 50 years with BKD, the firm's former chief operating officer said, "Glois was a mentor to all of the new staff for a number of years. . .  She was the first to be there to help out. . . . If there was ever the perfect employee, it was her."

A slide show presented during her BKD retirement party noted that Glois organized the firm's annual United Way Day of Caring, providing hands-on help to various Springfield nonprofits. It also commemorated the office's "Glois Appleton MVP" award that was launched in 2020 to recognize employees who follow her example of "consistent teamwork and commitment."


'I liked what I did'

While working directly with clients was Glois' favorite part of her job, she was less delighted with the seemingly constant change in technology. She went from working at a desk with pencil and paper and that old, hand-cranked adding machine to her last work station, which included a computer with three monitors. 

"But I still have an adding machine," she said. "Most of the younger ones just use their computer keyboard for that, but I've refused. I've kept my adding machine."

Now that she's retired, Glois looks forward to spending more time with her family. She and Lewis, who has retired from his career as a home builder and remodeler, have a fifth-wheel recreational vehicle they enjoy. They have reservations to spend several weeks in it at Stockton Lake. And they’re looking forward to being in Nashville to watch their grandson's sports activities.

Glois and Lewis have two sons: Their son Anthony and his wife, Becky, live in Ozark; son Chad and his wife, Amber, are in Nashville. 

The Appletons have four grandchildren.

Leaving BKD wasn't an easy decision, Glois said. "I still liked my job, but I felt it was time to leave. I've never really like technology all that much, and there are constant upgrades and updates, and it feels like there’s always a new system or a new way to do things."

The company that had 12 employees and occupied an office on the sixth floor of the McDaniel Building on St. Louis Street in Springfield, later moved to occupy six and a half floors of the new Hammonds Tower in 1987, and now has its own building in that area. But while the size of the firm changed, Glois' enjoyment of her work with BKD continued. 

As she left the office, she reminded her co-workers what she has told her own family members and what she told people she was training at BKD: "It's nice to have a job that lets you pay bills and live comfortably, but if you don't like what you do, you need to find something else. I liked what I did, and that's why I stayed."

Ozark County Times

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