Madison County Commissioners

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Mary Andrus and Elsie Farris are living out their husbands' legacies.

Both are filling the county commissioner seats left vacant by the deaths of each of their husbands.

"He would have wanted me to," Mary Andrus said. "He loved his job, and I just felt like I should step in and finish it out for him."

"I thought it would be a real opportunity to work for the people as he had," Elsie Farris said.

Jim Andrus died in a car accident in February, and one month earlier Elsie's husband Don Farris died from liver failure after a lengthy illness.

"I could tell he was so sad and I said to him, ‘Don, it's time for you to retire,’ and I had told him this before he ran the last time and he said, ‘no, I'm not ready,’" Elsie Farris said. "I think about that often.”

Elsie took over the position in mid-January, and Mary just last month. Both women say they're learning as they go.

"I'm learning," Mary Andrus said. "But I rode with my husband for about a year pretty well a little bit every day so I kind of knew what's going on, so I am not too surprised at a lot of things."

"It's been a great experience because I thought I knew a lot about it because Don had been a commissioner for eight years," Elsie Farris said. "I found out that it's not that easy.”

Elsie says she'll leave the position in November, which was when her husband planned to leave. The late Jim Andrus is listed on the upcoming ballot, running unopposed in the primaries. It'll be up to the Democratic Party county chair to select a replacement. Mary Andrus says if she's asked, she hasn't decided if she would accept.