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Retiree Updates (July 2019)

Welcome new retirees

Robert Byrnes
retired June 30, after 40 years of contributions and accomplishments for Extension. Bob began his career as an Extension crops educator and concluded it as the Director of Field Operations. Bob was appointed to many special assignments including the emergency initiative for the 1990s Minnesota flood crisis and in 1999 for the social and economic crisis in rural Minnesota.

Dean Herzfeld, coordinator, pesticide safety and environmental education, Extension Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, retired on March 29 after 30 years of contributions and leadership for pesticide safety programs.

Jeanne Laqua, office administrative service supervisor for the Center for Family Development for over 20 years, retired June 3. Jeanne’s leadership and management of numerous events and projects in health and nutrition programs were appreciated.

Don Nitchie, Extension educator, agriculture business management, retired June 19. Don provided leadership to the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association and helped farmers better manage their businesses.

Mary Schoenbauer provided nearly 30 years of dedicated service and contributions to the Scott County Extension Office. She excelled at balancing two complex systems and aligning University programs with county priorities. She retired May 29.

Elizabeth Templin’s 40-year career as an Extension educator included 4-H as well as community economics, where she led early work on the retail trade analysis program. She retired on May 1 and her passion for improving people’s lives was matched by her distinguished service.

In Memoriam

Nancy Harvey,
83, of New Brighton, passed away Feb. 18. She was an administrative secretary in Extension and retired in 1993.

Carlyle Holen enjoyed a 34-year Extension career, starting in 1977 as the county agent for Kittson County. In 1980, he assumed the position of integrated pest management specialist in Crookston. He passed away March 26, age 66.

Gordon Stobb, 83-year-old resident of Little Falls, passed away on June 12. His career began as an area Extension agent working throughout the state helping communities with their community development projects; he retired in 1992.

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story

Naaz Babvani, executive office and administrative specialist, Extension Human Resources, retired on Dec. 10. As a library volunteer at Children's Hospital, Naaz enjoys organizing a book wagon and distributing books to children. Naaz commented, “It is rewarding to see the kids’ faces light up when they see the book wagon; even bringing joy to one patient is rewarding when they are going through so much.”

Sheila Craig, Extension leadership and civic engagement educator, Center for Community Vitality, Southeast District, retired in 2003. Since 2005, Sheila has been presenting “Remembering the Apron,” an exhibit of 100 aprons in which she shares a nostalgic look at the apron and helps attendees reminisce about what an apron meant in families. This summer she will be working with public libraries in Iowa for several road trip presentations.

Dean Herzfeld, a March retiree in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is now working part-time for the National Pesticide Safety Education Center.

Elsie Martin retired in 2003 as an administrative assistant in Extension finance; currently, she works as a temporary test scorer for No Child Left Behind. In 2002 she purchased the cabin used in the movie "Fargo" from eBay and began the work of moving it to Wisconsin, adding on, restoring and everything in between. She recently sold it to her daughter and plans to travel.

Chuck Schwartau, dairy educator and Regional Extension Director until he retired in 2017, recently added the title of County Extension Committee member in Goodhue County to his list of involvements. “It puts me on the other side of the table for once!” he says.

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

Epsilon Sigma Phi Pi Chapter
Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) has been working to increase membership and the value of membership. Current activities include:
  • The summer newsletter will be coming out in early July, highlighting some exciting opportunities available to our active members and our retirees.
  • The Professional Improvement Committee launched “Lunch and Learn” educational opportunities with a focus on collaboration.
    • The first webinar highlighted the recently created University of Minnesota Extension Rural Stress Task Force.
    • In July, the topic will be the “Making It Home” program.
    • The August presentation will highlight Minnesota’s first Hispanic 4-H club.
Let me know if you have any questions related to the ESP Pi Chapter activities.

Nathan Winter
President, ESP Pi Chapter

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