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Conversation with Avery County Register of Deeds Renee Dellinger

Renee Dellinger, Avery County Register of Deeds. (Photo courtesy of Renee Dellinger)

By Tim Gardner

Known for her bubbly personality, down-to-earth demeanor and the high principles of Christian living she exemplifies, Renee Dellinger is also noted by her colleagues, Avery citizens and many others for her expertise and being a quintessential fit as the county’s Register of Deeds as well as one of the region’s longest-tenured public servants.

Continue reading for a conversation between this reporter (my questions) and Dellinger (her answers) about various topics including her personal life, and especially her many professional roles, accomplishments and innovations, what she considers her greatest satisfaction from being Register of Deeds, as well as her plans after she retires from the post on March 31, 2023.

High Country Press: What is your personal background?

Dellinger: My parents are Glen and Freda English. I have two older brothers, Randy and Ricky, and a younger sister, Roberta English Stafford. I was raised in Avery County in the Roaring Creek community. I married Dean Dellinger and we reside in Plumtree. We have one son, Marty Dellinger, who serves as a Real Property Tax Appraiser for Avery County.

I’m a member of Henson Creek Baptist Church in Avery County, where I serve as secretary.

High Country Press:  A two-part question…How long have you worked for the County of Avery in the Register of Deeds office?  And how long have you served as its Register of Deeds?

Dellinger:  I have worked in the Register of Deeds for 20 years. I was hired in 2003 as Deputy Register of Deeds and then promoted to Assistant Register of Deeds in 2008. I was appointed as Register of Deeds in 2010 when the prior Register (Tammy Baker) retired. I was elected for three more terms. I have served as Register of Deeds for 12 years. 

High Country Press:  In detail, what are your job duties and responsibilities as Register of Deeds?

Dellinger: I am responsible for keeping all records, which includes real estate, separation agreements, birth, death, marriage and military discharge papers. I also issue marriage licenses and perform swearing in ceremonies of notary publics, to name a couple more of my duties. 

I make sure my staff and I are educated on all laws related to the Register of Deeds office and that all documents are properly indexed and put on our web site for public viewing. 

My primary duty is taking care of the needs of the public involving the Register of Deeds office.

High Country Press:  You have announced your retirement as Register of Deeds, effective at the end of the work day on March 31, 2023. How would you describe the professional and personal rewards you’ve had of serving in the post?

Dellinger: Serving in the post is so humbling, and I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends as a result.

High Country Press: Expounding on the last question…You serve at the leisure of the Avery County Commissioners, the county manager, and foremost, your fellow-Avery County citizens.  Specifically, how do you describe those experiences?

Dellinger: The county commissioners and county managers I’ve worked under have been so good to me. They have made sure that I have what I need to run my office efficiently. Serving the citizens of Avery County has been such a blessing. Meeting so many people, making many friends and helping people every day is so rewarding. 

High Country Press:  What are the attributes for being a productive and successful Register of Deeds…How would you define them?

Dellinger: Having a servant’s heart, being helpful, friendly and efficient. And continuing the education in learning all the latest updates to record and keep the necessary records, as well as the changes in laws relating to being a Register of Deeds. 

High Country Press:  In your general work week… Do you have a regular routine or does your general work schedule often change daily?

Dellinger: It’s mostly routine.

High Country Press:  What have been the most significant changes in Avery County Register of Deeds operations that you’ve witnessed first-hand and/or that you’ve actually been instrumental in making?

Dellinger: I implemented the E-File program (a system for submitting documents through the Internet or direct connection, usually without the need to submit any paper documents) into the office in 2012 and I set up a program in 2017 to start taking credit card payments from customers.  Both were big changes.

High Country Press:  Another two-part question… You are known who are for having a highly-professional, helpful, courteous and most-efficient staff.  Who are your staff members and what does their job duties encompass?  And what comments would you like to make about each of them?

Dellinger: Erin English is my Assistant Register of Deeds.  She oversees the office in my absence. Cheryl Garland and McKenzie McKinney are each a Deputy Register of Deeds. They all are crossed-trained. They wait on the public, record documents, answer telephone calls, issue marriage license, swear in notary publics, index files, proof read documents, certify vital records, record military discharges, besides conducting various other duties.  I could not have done my job efficiently without this wonderful staff. They deserve much credit for our successful office operations.

High Country Press:  Discussing your retirement again, what does the future hold for you and what activities do you plan to consistently be involved in after you leave the Avery Register of Deeds office?

Dellinger: Helping take care of my mother. I also plan to participate in my hobbies, which include camping, hiking, traveling, gardening and just sitting on my front porch at home and resting.

High Country Press:  What do you want your legacy as Avery’s long-time Register of Deeds to be?

Dellinger: That I served the citizens with integrity and tried to be of help to everyone who came through my office door.

High Country Press:  What additional comments would you like to make about yourself, the Avery Register of Deeds office and any other topics to all who read this article?

Dellinger: It has been such an honor to have served the wonderful citizens of Avery County. I love the people of Avery County.