Tammy Valdez-StarkWhen Tammy Stark retired in August, she admitted that she would always leave the door open to a possible return if her friends at Leigh Hilton PLLC ever needed her. Granted, it would take a lot to get her to completely un-retire, but when you spend 12 years working with people who are basically like an extended family, you are always there for each other.

So when Tammy and Leigh got together for lunch a few weeks ago, they both knew that the time was right for Tammy to come back part time. Leigh had been missing working with Tammy.

Tammy added, “The fact she wanted me here makes me feel good. I missed her. And if it helps her out, that is what matters.”

Tammy said with a laugh. “I came into work today wondering what she needed me to do. I opened my email, and she had a whole list ready.”

It is important to note that Tammy is not back full-time. She is currently working Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every other week, which is perfect since it allows her to balance a much-deserved retirement life with coming back to the firm and taking care of clients. And boy, will those clients ever be happy! While Tammy has only been working with new clients thus far, the outpouring of support from longtime clients when she retired was phenomenal.

“She has always been really good at taking care of clients and figuring out ways to help them. And she and I have had a great working history,” Leigh said, though she was putting that relationship mildly. They have always been close, and Leigh was at the hospital several years ago when Tammy’s daughter had her first child. “This is a chance to go back to our roots. When we first started, it was just us in a little-bitty room. She is the heart of this business.”

Tammy agreed, adding that it feels like she never left.

“It almost felt like I was starting over, but not really,” she said. “It all came back as if I had not been gone at all.”

So what has Tammy been doing all this time, and how does she plan to juggle work with her semi-retired life? Simply put, she gets to enjoy her coffee, relax, and take each day as it comes. Most of her time has been spent driving back and forth to Oklahoma to care for her mother, who recently had triple bypass surgery. She has also helped out her brother with odds and ends for his business and spent as much time as possible with her family. She and her husband, Greg, have a blended family that includes four kids and four grandkids. They have traveled to Florida to visit Tammy’s daughter, Brenda. They also went to Abilene to visit her son, Robert, who is in the Air Force.

When she is not doing any of that, she is quilting — a lot.

“I went through my sewing closet, got everything organized, and made a list of 35 projects that I wanted to get done. And that is not all of them,” Tammy said with a determined tone to her voice. “I have just been going through that list and checking off each item as I get them done. I have been doing a lot of sewing in my room and spending time with my husband. He always says, ‘I can hear you talking to yourself in there.’ I am just enjoying my time and getting things done.”

Now that she can keep her retired life and still work at her favorite firm, Tammy feels like she has the best of both worlds.

“I could not stay away,” Tammy said with a laugh. “When you are home sewing, you have no one to talk to except yourself. This way, I get to see people and be around the people I know so well. And seeing that everyone is so happy to have me back makes me feel good. It feels great to be back.”

Office Hours

Monday: 8:30am - 5pm
Tuesday: 8:30am - 5pm
Wednesday: 8:30am - 5pm
Thursday: 8:30am - 5pm
Friday: 8:30am - 5pm


Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 p.m.


By Appointment Only


By Appointment Only
Leigh Hilton P.L.L.C