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Shook Takes Over as Watauga County Register of Deeds

Recently-retired Watauga County Register of Deeds Jo Ann Townsend (left) stands with her successor Amy Shook after Shook was sworn in on Monday.
Recently-retired Watauga County Register of Deeds Jo Ann Townsend (left) stands with her successor Amy Shook after Shook was sworn in on Monday.

By Jesse Wood

Feb. 4, 2015. With Jo Ann Townsend retiring after more than three decades last week, Amy Jones Shook will finish the remainder of Townsend’s term as the Watauga County Register of Deeds.

Judge Warren Hughes swore in Shook at the Watauga County Courthouse on Monday.

“I look forward to working hard and serving the citizens of Watauga County as the next Register of Deeds. I am thankful God has opened this door of opportunity for me to serve others, and what I hope will be for many years,” Shook said in a statement. “I want to thank JoAnn Townsend for her years of service to this county.  She has served well and I know I have huge shoes to fill!”

When Townsend announced her retirement in late 2014, she requested to work through January to ensure a smooth transition. As Shook noted earlier this week, “business has continued as usual.”

Shook is a native of Watauga County and a graduate of Appalachian State University. She has seven years experience as the Deputy Register of Deeds in Watauga County.

Shook said these are her goals for the next two years in office:

  • Continue making recorded documents immediately available for the public to view.
  • Continue working to have scanned images of ALL land and vital records.
  • Continue the preservation of ALL old land and vital records.
  • Continue providing services through electronic means, such as online availability of records and electronic filing of documents and updating technology as necessary.
  • Have the marriage license application form available for online submission
  • Implement a fraud detection program with our courthouse computer system vendor in which citizens can opt to take advantage of.

Shook said she is committed to “continue the excellent and efficient public service” that the local Register of Deeds office has done for years. She said that many folks don’t realize the function or responsibilities of the Register of Deeds office, which handles all vital and land records in the county.

While commending her trained staff – Kathy Burkett, Anne Hamby, Carolyn Greer, Lorie Bolick, Kim Oliver, and Christy Warren – for making the Watauga office “the best one in the state,” she noted that they understand the current laws that govern Register of Deeds and the processes and technologies utilized in the office.

“I am blessed to have them working alongside me! My staff and I are committed to treating everyone fairly and with respect and assisting the public with their needs via email, phone or in person,” Shook said. “If our office can ever be of assistance, please let us know.”

For more information or to contact the Watauga County Register of Deeds, click here.