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Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (Nov. 2017)

Melvin J. Baughman, Extension forester who retired in 2011, planned a “fabulous retirement,” according to a story on, a blog about retirement and volunteerism. Blogger Mary Anne Casey writes that Mel created “the most deliberate retirement plan of any retiree I’ve interviewed” and yet remained flexible when some of his plans didn’t work out the way he’d planned.

Sandra Becker, prior to her retirement in 2005, was a communications specialist, Extension operations and support on the St. Paul campus. Her recent activities include serving as a board member and volunteer coordinator at Minnesota Bach Ensemble; volunteer at “Walkin’ in Circles” horse shelter (New Mexico); and choir member at House of Hope Church in St. Paul.

Kim Boyce, former Extension educator in the Extension Center for Community Vitality and regional director for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, retired in 2015. He now teaches leadership a few days a week and facilitates meetings for public and nonprofit organizations. Kim is part of the planning for the alumni gathering to celebrate the 130th year of the University of Minnesota YMCA (where he worked from 1981-1989).

Dale Blyth’s
retirement includes part-time work as an independent consultant to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning’s “Measuring SEL” initiative where he co-produces a weekly blog. He just completed service as panel manager for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s five-year review of national youth development and 4-H portfolio. Dale is the former associate dean of Extension Center for Youth Development.

Jim Kemp, former Hennepin County Extension director and MN 4-H Foundation assistant director, retired in 1989. His efforts and gifts to the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador program is featured in Source Fall 2017 edition.

Maxine Norman McNeece’s recent work includes the Menahga City Council and Thriving Communities Initiative, a leadership training program through the Initiative Foundation Leadership, Little Falls; part of a groundbreaking ceremony for a $4.9 million expansion to the Green Pine Acres Nursing Home/Assisted Living complex in Menahga. She is a former regional Extension educator, Center for Community Vitality, Regional Office Brainerd.

Janie O’Connor, former home economist in Brown and Itasca counties, recently received Scandia’s “Good Neighbor Award.” She also is leading the effort to develop Scandia into a cyclist destination (Cycling Scandia). During the summer months, she is a vendor at Scandia Farmers Market, educating shoppers and selling monarch butterfly items.

Chuck Schwartau, just retired as regional director for the southeast region and is using his extra time as secretary of the Goodhue County Fair and will soon work with the Goodhue County Historical Society. In November, he will be going to Saskatoon, Canada, to present two agriculture labor management sessions to the Saskatchewan Pork Producers' Association.

Faye Sleeper retired this year from her work in the Water Resources Center, but a feature story on their website shows how her time there was part of a longer journey. She continues this journey in retirement. The story tells of her plans for “European travels and exploring neglected treasures closer to home” and also indicates that we should not be surprised to see her out on the water in her kayak.

Eric Vogel, an Extension educator in educational technology for Center for Youth Development, working in Houston, Kandiyohi, St. Cloud and Willmar until retiring in 2015, volunteers at the Winona Area Food Shelf. Currently, he is a field researcher for Vital Research conducting quality-of-life interviews at long-term care facilities. He also makes regular appearances in his garden, duck blind and tree stand.

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