Madison Chamber & Economic Development office manager Lynda Knoebel, right, talks with Linda Lytle during Knoebel's retirement party at the chamber building Tuesday.

Knoebel began working for the Small Business Development Center at the front desk at Venture Out Business Center eight years ago. Eventually she was doing the books for the Small Business Development Center, the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Venture Out Business Center and River Valley Food Venture. In July 2010, Knoebel moved with the chamber to its current location downtown. She previously worked for more than 20 years in the local banking industry.

"Lynda is such an amazing person," said Kathy Huffman, the Talent Initiative director and Ec015 coordinator, whose office is in the Chamber and Economic Development building. "Even if she had something bad that she had to say, she could always find a good way of saying it. I always walked away feeling better after talking to her."

"Lynda will be hard to replace," said 2012 Chamber Vice President Marta Belt. "'Replace' isn't even a correct word. Lynda did so much for us and for this community. She will be missed."

Today is Knoebel's last day of work. She is retiring to spend more time with her husband, John, and her mother, Marie.

"She is always eager to step up to the plate with a smile on her face," Economic Development Partners interim executive director Bernie Murphy wrote in a statement. He became the interim executive director this month. "Her retirement will leave a huge void that is going to be very difficult to fill."

Knoebel, he wrote, "radiates friendship and goodwill." (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)