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Retirees in retirement: Sharing Your Story (March 2017)

This issue highlights Mel Baughman, Ann Bosch, Arthur Frame, Marilyn Grantham, Richard Krueger, Jim Lewis, Phyllis Onstad, Bob Sopoci, Patricia Stumme, Bill Svendsgaard, Kent Thiesse

Mel Baughman serves on the Sawyer County Search and Rescue Team. He helps build and maintain the North Country National Scenic Trail through Wisconsin and occasionally consults with communities or businesses regarding recreational trail design. He was recently featured in the "meet your neighbor" column in the Sawyer County Record Newspaper, which provided a synopsis of his life, reasons for moving to Hayward, his interests and volunteer activities. Mel served as an Extension forestry program leader on the St. Paul campus.

Ann Bosch, former Extension educator and county Extension leader, Kandiyohi County, provides volunteer office support for the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker counties and assists with special needs clients at the Willmar Area Food Shelf.

Arthur Frame, retired Extension educator, crops, soils and horticulture, Nobles County, is busy as a volunteer at Manna Food Shelf, a board member and treasurer of Nobles County Historical Society, and a tax preparer for AARP Tax-Aide Program, Jan.-April. However, his most important job: “trying to keep my golf handicap from getting too high.”

Marilyn Grantham, Extension program leader, agriculture and community vitality, volunteers as a K-3 Literacy Tutor with Minnesota Reading Corps. In her third year of service, she is currently serving at Prodeo Academy in Columbia Heights, a charter school with a mission of closing the achievement gap for children. Since her grandchildren are in Germany, she enjoys being with her "surrogate" grandkids.

Richard Krueger, who served as an Extension leader in program evaluation, St. Paul campus, is now working with graduate students and faculty on evaluation and using stories in research. He and his wife teach focus group interviewing courses at the University of Minnesota and around the country. His first book on the topic has gone through five editions, the most recent in 2015. He has been writing other books, chapters and journal articles on evaluation and research methods. For relaxation, he still enjoys tinkering with motorcycles and scooters in the garage.

Jim Lewis, former executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, worked in Mille Lacs, Washington County, and on the St. Paul campus, has been a volunteer for the North American Board of the Institute for the Healing of Memories, providing a safe environment for sharing and healing from trauma. Jim also works part-time as the executive director of the Nurses Peer Support Network, a Minnesota organization providing a network and education to support nurses recovering from substance use disorder.

Phyllis Onstad, who served the southeast district as an Extension family resource management educator, is now working as a full-time contractor for the Department of Defense. She uses her Extension expertise and Accredited Financial Counselor certification to educate and counsel Air and Army National Guard service members and their families in all matters of personal finance. She covers Fort McCoy, Camp William, and Volk Field areas in southwest Wisconsin.

Bob Sopoci served as Cook County Extension director, Community Vitality. He received awards from the Department of Natural Resources for his 30 years of volunteer service as a firearm and snowmobile safety instructor. Bob continues to own and operate Gunflint Gardens Tree and Shrub Nursery and is involved in reforestation of 60 acres of property overlooking Lake Superior. He frequently submits photos and short articles to the local Cook County News Herald, featuring animals and plants unique to Cook County. Several years ago he competed in a curling bonspiel and beat the USA silver medal winners in the Olympics, making the front page of the local paper.

Patricia Stumme, former Extension educator and professor, family financial management and nutrition education in the Mankato Regional Office, completed two years as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor. She reads with a second grade class, and also works at the DoveTail Woods tree farm to help prevent emerald ash borer infestations. Another highlight since retirement: “Drove to the Arctic Circle in second camping trip to Alaska—Aaahhh wilderness!”

Bill Svendsgaard, who retired in 2002 from Extension in Hennepin County, was one of 50 people honored by AARP Minnesota on Oct. 13. The award cited his work using art experiences as a way for participants to better themselves. Bill uses the 4-H pledge as a platform for teaching life skills through the arts with prisoners. He has used it in the prisons at Shakopee, Oak Park Heights, Lino Lakes and now using it with students at South St. Paul Senior High, Building Bridges for Latino Families, the Garage Teen Center (a Somali after-school program in Burnsville) as well as with teens in the Minnesota Association of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Branch-Out youth program.

Kent Thiesse is a 2017 recipient of the “All-State School Board Honors Award.” Kent has served on the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School Board for 27 years, including 10 years as its chairman. The award also recognized Kent’s work as a 4-H leader who founded the state 4-H Livestock Knowledge Bowl and his service as coordinator of the annual Farmfest educational forum.
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