August 13, 2010 - Jane Whitmore
Three Emmetsburg residents, with over a century of experience, have retired this summer. Let’s take a look at what they have done and what they plan to do in retirement.
Audrey Baatz retired from AGP last month. She had been with the company for over 26 years, and she has worked in five locations.
Audrey started with AGP in 1984 at Sheldon. She moved to Eagle Grove, then St. Joe, MO, and on to the corporate office in Omaha, NE. Audrey circled around and came to Emmetsburg in 1996. Her job was in the accounting department, in different places with different faces.
Computers provided the biggest change in Audrey’s field of work. When she started, they had CRT screens and they could enter data and print data. There were no Excel spread sheets with that system. E-mail has also been a big change and a big benefit. In the past few years, Audrey says she received more e-mails than phone calls from counterparts in the eight other soybean locations.
Retirement finds Audrey taking life easy. She plans to take care of her garden plot better -- and her yard -- and her house. As a former softball player, she has enjoyed watching the high school team and she formerly coached some of the girls in Little League. Audrey plans to travel more and volunteer more. She is an active member of Rotary and she enjoys helping people. But first, Audrey has already been called for jury duty.
Don Larsen has retired after 38 years with Corn Belt Power Cooperative.?His retirement party was just a couple of weeks ago.
Don started with Corn Belt Power as an apprentice lineman and retired as line foreman. That involved taking care of the crew, construction and maintenance of transmission lines for Cornbelt Power in eight counties.
The crew went out in troubled times to maintain service. One of the most memorable was the 1991 ice storm, most often remembered as the Halloween storm.
Thirty-eight years ago Don, and others on the crew, were climbers. Now Corn Belt Power has basket trucks which makes the work safer and faster.
Don says he will miss the people he worked with and his connection with the public. He often had to talk with farmers to gain permission for entry on their property. He offers thanks to the farmers and to people in the community for all their cooperation.
“Larsen’s Creations” is Don’s second career. He does stained glass work, etching and glass fusing, with The Glass Shop as home base. In addition, Don does some volunteer work, including driving veterans to medical appointments. He is active in the Methodist Church and VFW.
Don and Dilene Larsen plan to spend some time with family in Las Vegas.
Bill Zeigler retired just last week from Iowa Telecom/Windstream. Bill has been with the company for over 42 years.
Bill started as a lineman, climbing poles. He is retiring as Central Office Technician, based in Emmetsburg.
When Bill started his career, it was with Central Iowa Telephone. The name was changed to GTE, then Iowa Telecom and now Iowa Telecom/Windstream. He worked in Emmetsburg and Hartley before returning to Emmetsburg. In addition, Bill continues to serve as the state union president. This is a position he has held for ten years.
Bill has all good memories of his 40+ years in the communications business. One of the biggest changes has been cell phones. He remembers in the 1960s, they would put in 10-hour days connecting phones for college students, then retrieving the phones at the end of the school years. Now the students have cell phones.
Emmetsburg was a district office for the telecommunications business and as a call center in the 1970s there were over 40 employees here. Now there are four.
Bill served 16 years on Emmetsburg City Council. He was a volunteer with Little E’Hawk Wrestling and the Victorian Museum on Main.
In retirement, Bill and Nancy plan to do more traveling, beginning with a trip to the nation’s capitol.
Thank for all you have done, Audrey, Don and Bill. Enjoy your retirement. --Jane Whitmore