After working more than 28 years at the First State Bank in Woden, Phyllis Schutjer retired Thursday, Aug. 15.
Schutjer, 64, had her retirement party Tuesday, Aug. 13 because that was the day the board met and they wanted to be at her party.
In 1991, when the woman already working at the bank retired, Schutjer applied for the job at the bank.
Schutjer said she stayed the 28 years because her children went to school at Woden-Crystal Lake schools when the two towns still had a school for children.
“It was easy, it was better hours, and if I worked out of town somewhere I had to drive, so after I’d been there so long, I probably figured I didn’t want to go someplace else and try to find a job that had longer hours either,” she said.
Schutjer was in charge of “pretty much everything,” including insurance, loans and the duties of a teller, and the best part of her job was meeting all of the people.
“Seeing the people, meeting the people and talking to them, that’s the best part,” she said. “Lots of different people. Every day was different…And I will miss the people definitely.”
After graduating from the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota in the summer of 1977, Schutjer already had a job lined up at Woden-Crystal Lake High School, where she taught business, but after about five years she quit to stay home with her children, who were too young to go to school at the time, and instead became a substitute teacher and cleaned houses. In 1991, she applied for the bank job and has been working there since.
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In addition to the appeal of a full-time job, her husband works in farms and trucks so they didn’t have any insurance provided through work.
“Between all of that, it just kind of was a good time to start working full-time instead of lots of little jobs,” she said.
Schutjer said she decided to retire now, six months before she is qualified for Medicare, because her husband just turned 65 in August and now gets Medicare, so she only has to pay for insurance for six months before she’s on Medicare.
So far, one week into her retirement as of this writing, Schutjer said she’s been kept busy running errands for a lot of people and trying to different things, such as visiting her mom in an assisted living center, helping her daughter and son out with their children, a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old through her daughter and a 23-month-old and a 5-month-old through her son.
“So when one of those kids are sick – the older ones aren’t so bad that they can be by themselves, but the younger ones if they’re sick then one of the parents have to stay home,” she said. “I want to be able to help them out and watch the kids, and they don’t have to worry about taking off for work then.”
Schutjer said she’s hoping she will also catch up on five years of scrapbooking and do some more quilting with her church group as well as help her husband on the farm a bit more.
“I know that I’ll miss the people, but hopefully I’ll get to see a lot of them over time,” she said. “…I’m just looking forward to being able to do some of the things that I haven’t been able to do over the last few years.”