Minnesota man retires after 60 years working for same companyWinton Dahlin was allowed to knock off 30 minutes early from work Friday, his last day on the job. Consensus was that he earned it, since he’s worked the past 60 years for the same company.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
THIEF RIVER FALLS — Winton Dahlin was allowed to knock off 30 minutes early from work Friday, his last day on the job. Consensus was that he earned it, since he’s worked the past 60 years for the same company.
Plus, the brass at his employer, Forsberg’s Inc., were taking him to lunch in celebration, where the uncomplicated 82-year-old had the uncomplicated sendoff meal of cheeseburger-and-fries.
Asked why he continued to work well beyond the norm and well beyond Social Security payments — and for only one employer — Winton said, “I liked what I was doing, so as long as I was able-bodied and they wanted me around, I figured I’d stay.”
He started working for the machinery manufacturer on Oct. 14, 1952, as a 22-year-old newlywed. He worked full-time until two years ago, when he scaled back to 20 hours per week.
Before becoming a part-timer, Winton routinely arrived at work at 4 a.m., three hours before the official shift start, to make coffee for his co-workers and tend to other self-appointed duties.
This was no problem for him because, if the early bird indeed catches the worm, Winton was never short of bait. Workday or weekend, his routine calls for bedtime at 5 p.m. and the alarm clock to ring at 1 a.m.
His first job was in the paint shop and his last was as the parts manager and he did pretty much every job in between.
“Winton grew up on a farm, so he was used to hard work,” said Loren Holen, Forsberg’s general manager. “The work ethic was totally different back then. Some people of his generation were lost when they stopped working.”
Owner Denny Bakke raved about his long-timer: “Winton was the most dedicated, company-conscious employee we’ve ever had. About the only thing he didn’t do was own the place. Up to his last day, he was productive and sharp.”
When he called it a day — and a career — Winton hung his blue apron on a hook and choked up as much as hard-scrabbled old-timers allow themselves.
A question about his health over the previous 60 years was asked to break the tension.
“Yeah, I had some problems,” he said. “I missed a couple of days of work once, I guess.”
The Grand Forks Herald and the News Tribune both are owned by Forum Communications.