Oxford Tax Service new construction digs up a Jack Boote connection
Jack Boote, a prominent figure in the history of Worthington, had a part to play for the Oxford Tax Service business.
No, nothing of archaeological significance was unearthed when the foundation was dug for the new Oxford Tax Service building. But the Boote influence was there never-the-less.
Depression-era families struggled to survive. Families relocated to find paying jobs and one such family came to Worthington from Pipestone to work for Boote’s Hatchery around 1935. My mother, Ardis Johannsen, was 2 years old and that was her family.
Grandpa Carl evidently impressed Jack Boote enough to earn a promotion. He was sent to Canton, South Dakota, to manage the Boote Hatchery there. Perhaps I should thank that Jack Boote decision for my own existence. You see, Canton is the ancestral home to my father., Roger Bakkene. The die was cast. My parents would eventually meet.
When Mr. Boote sold off his Canton Hatchery in 1950, my grandparents headed back to Pipestone. Mother was allowed to stay in Canton with a classmate’s family to attend her senior year of high school. My father was a mere sophomore — a real go-getter in a punky frame. Punky was his nickname.
February 1960. The Roger and Ardis Bakkene family arrives in Worthington from Pipestone. If my mother had any feelings about a return trip 25 years in the making, I wasn’t aware of it. Not until I was well into my adult years do I remember her mentioning living here as a toddler. And that’s when I was told of the Jack Boote connection to our family.
By 1966 my father was looking to enter the income tax preparation field. Six years as an insurance agent had primed the pump. An H & R Block tax franchise was deemed the solution and thus Worthington received it with open arms. Father eventually sold the franchise three times which must be a record in itself. He bought first one and then the other of the two parcels fronting Oxford Street at the Grand Avenue corner. Both sites were used as a tax prep location at one time or another but not simultaneously.
I’m proud that Edgar and Eva Gutierrez have so eagerly taken over my income tax business that I sold to them in 2008. Now that their two sons have decided to become involved with the family business, a larger office building was viewed as much needed.
Entrepreneurs like Jack Boote are still needed and here. Making Worthington a better place to live.