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Two seek recorder seat

Two are running for the St. Francois County Recorder of Deeds seat. Incumbent Steve Grider has held the seat for the last 31 years. Jay Graf is also running for the seat. 

Steve Grider (D)

Steve Grider was born and raised in Bismarck and grew up on what used to be known as Sunnymeade Dairy. He said his father worked for the dairy and their family’s housing was part of the wages. After the dairy dissolved, he was able to purchase a very small portion of the dairy property, where he and his wife, Lisa (Arnez) still reside.

Grider is a 1976 graduate of Bismarck High School and after graduation he attended Mineral Area College where he received an Associate of Science degree in construction technology. While attending both high school and college he worked at Sunnymeade Dairy.

Once he graduated from MAC he went to work for GRW Engineering, which handled the mapping and assessment maps for the county. Part of those maps are still utilized in the assessor’s office today. After the mapping project was complete he went to work at a local title company.

Grider said it was because of his interest in deeds and abstracting that he ran for office of the Recorder of Deeds in St. Francois County in 1986. He won the election and took the seat in 1987, which he has held ever since.

“I love my job and all that it entails. This is why I am seeking re-election,” Grider said. “I especially enjoy using my knowledge and experience helping the public. Whether it is helping them to look up genealogy, find property lines or old deeds or research the magnitude of other questions or problems. That, in my opinion, is what it is all about, serving the community.”

Grider explained it is a very detail-oriented job and he takes it very seriously. He stressed he is passionate about the preservation of records and understands the importance of doing the job well. Not only does this help the public, but title companies in their searches and in turn lenders with mortgage lending.

“The office keeps very current with technology and we have one of the best computers systems in the state and are able to do more for many of the surrounding counties,” Grider said. “Our office was one of the first recorder’s offices to use the computer system we currently have and I helped other counties follow suit.”

Grider added they have digitized old surveys and plats and are in the process of digitizing old deed books through grants they have received. He explained the grants have helped save taxpayer’s money and they have e-recording, which is a much quicker way of recording documents.

“We offer online searches, credit and debit card payments, property fraud alert and honor rewards,” Grider said. “I am also a member of the Recorder’s Association of Missouri, where I have served as past treasurer and Legislative Committee.”

Grider added he has more than 640 hours of training with this association and because he truly cares about the community he volunteers in a number of ways. He is also a member of the Park Hills Lions Club and served as past president, a member of the Knights of Columbus, Mineral Area Elks and the St. Francis County Democratic Club. He also belongs to St. John’s Catholic Church.

Jay Graf (R)

Jay Graf, 61, has been married to his wife for 40 years. He said the Lord had blessed them with two children Greg and Marianne. Both children grew up in Farmington and both graduated from Farmington High School.

Graf said Greg and his wife Leigh live in Texas and have two girls of their own and are expecting another girl this November. His daughter Marianne and her husband Scott, have three boys and three girls ranging from 14 to 6 years old, and they live in Missouri. 

“I love my country and was taught to do so from kindergarten up in school and at home,” Graf said. “I have always been patriotic from my inner core. I did not serve in the military, but that is in part why I am running for office. My family has many that have served in the military.”

Graf said his grandfather fought in World War I and then at the beginning of World War II as a gunnery instructor at Fort Barrancas on Pensacola Naval Air Station. 

“My father who just passed away on January 7, 2018, was retired Navy captain,” Graf said. “He was a Navy-trained doctor who served on the aircraft carrier ‘Coral Sea’ as a flight surgeon in the Mediterranean Sea in the 1950s. My father-in-law was in the Air Force and served at the National Security Agency in Washington, DC as a cryptanalyst decoding intercepted Russian intelligence during the Cold War.”

Graf said currently his son-in-law serves as captain in the Army Reserves and while members of his family have served their country. With the help of the community he would like to serve the county.

Graf received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Pensacola Christian College in 1978. He met his wife at college and they were married after graduation. He lived in Pensacola for a year before he accepted a job with BF Goodrich in the Engineered Products Division in North Carolina.

He moved to Farmington from North Carolina with his wife and two children in 1984 and had purchased a business locally called Photo Majik. With a lot of hard work the business was able to grow and they eventually built their own building in Maple Valley Shopping Area in 1994.

“In 2017 we sold the building, but still operate with on location business,” Graf said. “During that time, the business provided jobs and paychecks. When you are in business for yourself, every day is Election Day. The work environment was fast-paced.”

Graf said producing a good product in a timely manner was the order of the day and at times they had up to four employees. Graf said managing all aspects of the business is challenging and rewarding.

“Through this time I had to manage the purchase and installation of a computer network system to advance handling of information,” Graf said. “The compilation, archiving and retrieval of information was the core of our business. This is where I believe my experience segues directly into running for the recorder of deeds office. Running a fast-pace office and the handling of information.”

Graf stressed that he believes it’s time to elect someone with new ideas, a new skill set, a different perspective and with a fresh look into the office.

“It is time for a change and with your help that change can happen now,” Graf said. “I pledge to make our recorder’s office the new standard for other counties. Vote for me, Jay Graf, for St. Francois County Recorder of Deeds.”





Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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