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Jul 28

From portraying Parkey to mentoring interns, longtime administrative assistant made a difference

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 1:57 PM by Becky Burnside

Over the past 41 years, working at JCPRD has been an educational endeavor for Jane Owens Lickteig. So much so that she likes to say she has “a JCPRD degree.”

“I was taking general education classes at Johnson County Community College when I was hired on at JCPRD at the age of 20, so I didn’t receive a degree from a college or university,” she said. “Shoot, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a park and recreation degree.”

Lickteig, who was JCPRD’s recreation senior administrative assistant, retired in late July.

Initially hired in late 1980 as a clerk typist, she worked in the Registration Department for about two years, then transferred to the Sports and Leagues Department where she worked another three years. In the mid-80s, she was hired as the assistant to a newly-hired superintendent of recreation, and has essentially remained in that position through five subsequent superintendents.

Jane Lickteig working at registration desk in 1981

The current Superintendent of Recreation Rhonda Pollard had only good things to say about Lickteig. 

“Jane has been instrumental to the Recreation Division here at JCPRD and we are going to miss her,” she said. “A couple of Jane’s biggest accomplishments are her work with the county Feed the Need Committee and her dedication to our summer internship program - both of which she has served extremely well over the years.  Her day-to-day flexibility has been critical as she has always been willing to help staff with any needs at the drop of a hat - and they love her for that.  But what many of us will miss the most is her sense of humor and stories of JCPRD ‘back in the day.’ She has brought much laughter and fun throughout her time here and, for that, we are very thankful!”

When asked why she has stayed so long, she responded “JCPRD is a great place to work. I enjoy working with people that are involved in helping their community be a better place to live.”

Her role in mentoring interns is something she is especially proud of. She estimated that over the years she’s mentored more than 30 college interns and some have gone on to become full-time JCPRD employees, while others have gone on to other agencies.

For a number of years in the 1990s, Lickteig was the person inside the suit portraying JCPRD’s mascot, Parkey, the raccoon.

“I happened to be in the boardroom at Antioch Park when the costume was delivered,” she said. “As soon as it was unpacked, I put it on.”  And that is how I became the first Parkey! Parkey brought smiles to the faces of everyone that saw the costume and that gave me much enjoyment.  Wearing the costume was a great weight loss program because you sweat in it as if in a sauna!” 

Jane Lickteig as Parkey

Lickteig said she felt the time was right to retire, and she looks forward to spending time with her family.

“I am going to enjoy being down on the farm, spending more time with my grandchildren and great grandchildren, and I have several projects I would like to do to our house,” she said.