ALBEMARLE — For the first time in 42 years, a Stanly County resident is the president of the NC Association of Registers of Deeds (NCARD).
Suzanne Lowder, Stanly County’s register of deeds since 2008, was sworn in as the NCARD president during a virtual session at her Albemarle office on Oct. 19, replacing Bertie County’s Annie Wilson.
“With this being a virtual swearing-in, it wasn’t as exciting as being at the conference where we normally do this,” Lowder told SCJ. “But I had my family here and the county manager was here, along with all my staff, so that part was really nice. I think the conference was supposed to be in Kitty Hawk, and my staff would not have been able to attend, so I’m happy that they were able to be a part of it.”
Lowder’s one-year term began after being voted into the position by North Carolina’s 100 registers, whose collective goal is to be a custodian of records — a role that ranges from maintaining real estate ownership records to holding indexes of oaths, birth certificates and military discharges.
As the NCARD president, Lowder said her main focus in her new position is to represent the association when it comes to communicating with public officials, the NC City & County Management Association (NCCCMA), the state and the general public.
“The most exciting thing is going around to all the different counties and seeing how they operate,” Lowder said. “We’re developing and studying more efficient ways of how we operate to better serve our citizens in each county.”
In 1977, Lowder became a Stanly County resident after moving from Cabarrus County.
She began working in the register’s office in 1992 and took the register of deeds’ position in 2008. During her time there, she has served on a range of NCARD committees: automation, executive, legislative, strategic long-range planning, vital records, education and website.
It wasn’t long before several of her fellow registers encouraged her to start the process of taking part in NCARD leadership roles.
“You start out as a historian and you work your way up from secretary, treasurer, second vice president, vice president and now president,” Lowder said. “With their encouragement and help, I’m now the president.”
The only other Stanly County register of deeds to hold the NCARD president role was Ray B. Crisco, who served in that position from 1977 to 1978. But the Stanly County office has been active ever since the county was formed in 1841 from Montgomery County.
Serving as a legal custodian of land transactions and other documents, the office is responsible and liable for canceling deeds of trust and mortgages.
In addition, the office “files and records deeds, deeds of trust, uniform commercial codes (UCCs), corporations, assumed names, military records, and other legal papers; registers and issues birth, death and marriage records as well as delayed records; cemetery records, grave removals, issues marriage licenses; and administers the oath to notaries public,” according to a formal letter provided by Lowder on the Stanly County Register of Deeds’ website.