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Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (March 2020)

Shirley Barber, an Extension educator in Ramsey County until she retired in 2000, headed a translation team from Finland and the United States for the book From a Boy To a Man: Pojasta Mieheksi, by Yrjö Kujala. Originally published in Finland, the book describes the 1860’s famine and the hardships faced by many Finnish ancestors, including Shirley’s maternal family.

Sandra Becker, who retired in 2005 as a professor and Extension communications educator on the St. Paul campus, spends time in Albuquerque, N.M., as a volunteer at Cloud Dancers, an equine program for people with disabilities. She also volunteers at a preschool helping kids who experienced trauma.

Robert Byrnes retired in June after 40 years of contributions in many Extension roles, most recently as the director of field operations. In December, Bob was named as the coordinator for the Highway 23 Coalition, where he will work with their board of directors to define the mission, vision and action plans for Highway 23.

Arnold J. Heikkila
, a professor and county Extension agent in the Duluth area who retired in 1988, has served on the board of directors and several committees for his cooperative housing unit and taught principles of cooperatives to the residents. “I have not retired but changed my vocation and my goal has always been to help people get from where they are to where they want to be,” he says.

Dean Herzfeld, a pesticide safety and environmental educator until he retired in 2019, was honored by the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators with a Lifetime Member award last June. Dean is continuing his part-time work with the National Pesticide Safety Education Center and is on a team for invasive species for Pacific and Caribbean Islands.

Barb Liukkonen was appointed by Governor Walz to a three-year term on the Governor's Council for the Lake Superior Coastal Program, representing Lake County. The council makes recommendations to the DNR Commissioner on programs and funding for grant projects that benefit the North Shore. Barb retired as a water resource program leader in 2009.

Phyllis Onstad, who retired in 2012 as an educator in family resource management, is working part-time as a personal financial counselor to help educate service members who may be deploying, returning from deployment, retiring or on a drill weekend. She also travels twice a year with Watermark Missions to a natural disaster area to repair homes and restore hope for recovery.

David Pace and wife Valerie traveled to the Panama Canal and witnessed a new liquid natural gas carrier designed by Takashi Fujitani as it entered the Agua Clara locks. Dave and Valerie met the Fujitani family in 1974 when they hosted 165 4-H’ers traveling to Japan. Mr. Takashi received national honors from the Japanese government for this innovative contribution to naval architecture. The Paces are grateful for the 4-H international exchange programs that brought their families together. Dave retired in 2002 after 32 years of leadership to the Center for Youth Development.

Juanita Reed-Boniface is serving on the Agriculture Advisory Committee for St. Francis Area Schools, working with the new Agriculture Science Department on a project to strengthen agriculture literacy pre-K-adult in the school district. Juanita is in her 24th year on the Anoka County Extension Committee, serving again this year as chair. Juanita is a retired Extension specialist in 4-H youth development.

Brad Rugg was honored with the Extension Staff of the Year award at Minnesota Farm Bureau’s annual meeting on Nov. 22. After serving Extension for 34 years, Brad retired in 2018 from full-time work as 4-H director of fairs and animal science programs and is currently on special assignment as director of county and state fair programs.
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