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Retiree Updates (March 2016)

Welcome New Retirees

Debra Botzek-Linn, Extension educator, food science, retired on Nov. 30. As a member of the Extension Food Safety Team, she helped identify current challenges and provided leadership in addressing educational requirements. Her 29 year career provided food safety education to food handlers and the public through scholarship, teaching, publications, educational programs, technology/internet and the media.

Debra Madison, Extension Information Technology, provided numerous technical contributions to Extension’s educational mission. For the past 36 years, she supported major initiatives and was instrumental in the success of understanding and adaptation of information technology in the workplace. She retired on Jan. 8.

Kristi A. Stedman, executive office and administrative specialist, Extension Regional Office, Cloquet, retires on March 31 after 11 years of support to Extension office operations and 4-H youth development programs.

In Memoriam

Robert Berg, age 98, passed away on Dec. 22. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s of science and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota. In 1958, he became an Extension poultry specialist and received numerous industry awards and recognitions, serving in this field until his retirement in 1984. He was a WWII veteran and was buried with military honors.

Hallie Lee Clonts, served in Watonwan County from 1956-1972, as a county home agent conducting workshops for homemakers and teaching nutrition and sewing. She also taught adult and youth leadership programs. She was 92 and passed away on May 1, 2008 in Steelville, Mo. Thank you to retiree John Ankeny for providing the obituary notice.

William Hueg, former Professor, Vice President for Agriculture, and Dean of the University’s Institute of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, passed away Feb. 18, age 92. He began his Minnesota Extension career as a specialist in agronomy in 1957. He received the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture in 2009.

Marvin Stanley Jensen, agricultural Extension agent, died on Feb. 4 at his home in Kensington at age 75. He received his bachelor’s of science and master’s in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota. He also farmed and advised farmers for the Farm Service Agency.

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story

This issue highlights Don Breneman, Sharon Knutson, Barb Liukkonen and Maxine Norman.

Don Breneman, former audio visual producer in the Extension Communications unit, writes: “Still doing lots of photography—some for the University and mostly for myself. I co-authored the book, Voyageur Skies with Mark Seeley, which won the Northeast Minnesota book awards in 2011.”

Sharon Knutson, former Extension educator in family development in Norman County, reports: “Life is good after retirement. I am able to travel and see the sites of the world, and my major volunteer responsibility is managing our local food shelf in Ada.”

Barb Liukkonen, who worked in water resources, commented: “I'm living the dream as a volunteer—no paid work right now, so I never have to worry about measurable outcomes or deliverables. If I think the work is valuable, then I can choose to do it. Currently I'm learning a lot as the new co-president of our Lake County Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault crisis center.”

Maxine Norman, retired leadership and civil engagement educator in the Brainerd region, serves on multiple committees, including: Sounds of Spirit Lake, bringing free public concerts to her community; World's Best Task Force, addressing curriculum and technology at a public school; Greenwood Connections, a nursing home and assisted living center; as well as planning missions for her church. She says, “I try to stay out of the newspaper, although I've been known to pen a letter to the editor on occasion.” She also completed a spiral-bound book for her 50-year class reunion that was a hit with former classmates.

If you have news or a story to share with fellow Extension retirees, please share the news by completing this Google Form or send an email to Gwen Gmeinder at We hope to hear from many of you. Don’t be shy—tell us about your activities and successes!
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