PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) – An inspiration, a woman of God and a role model: those are some words to describe Sonia Gordon, the now-retired City Clerk of Paterson.

Mayor André Sayegh presented Gordon with the key to the city, a bookend to a story that began three decades ago.

“When my mom migrated from Jamaica she came to Paterson, and she stayed here all these years in Paterson,” said Gordon.

Sonia and her family would join shortly after, and it wasn’t long until she began a new chapter professionally.

“Congressman [Bill] Pascrell, he was the mayor at that time,” said Gordon. “He hired me in the City Clerk’s office.”

Gordon rose through the ranks, becoming acting City Clerk before earning the title of City Clerk permanently in 2016. Between documenting and facilitating vital records and helping citizens prepare for elections, it’s a critical role in any municipal government.

“It’s really one of the most important positions in the city,” said Gordon.

Gordon could have retired three years ago, but she decided that now was time.

“I don’t want to stay here until I get older,” said Gordon. “I have to move on, you have to move on.”

After 28 years of service to the city, Gordon now heads off into the sunset, but not before giving some words of wisdom to the next generation.

“I want to show the example to other people who I worked with or other people who live here that whatever you want to achieve in life you can have it if you go the extra mile,” said Gordon.