Worthington man retires from 44-year career days after 86th birthday
In late March, Prinzing was the guest of honor at a combination birthday and retirement party at the Prairie Justice Center.
WORTHINGTON — Most people can’t wait to retire.
They may dream of traveling, spending more time with family or with a favorite hobby. They probably relish the idea of never setting the alarm again to go to work.
Verle Prinzing is not like most people.
He wanted to work until he turned 100, and even then he may have decided to keep working.
And why not, especially when a person loves their job like Prinzing did.
In late March, the Worthington man was the guest of honor at a combination birthday and retirement party at the Prairie Justice Center. Prinzing turned 86 on March 19. His last day of work was three days later, on March 22.
Prinzing’s retirement marked the end of a 44-year career working for Nobles County. He was hired in the maintenance department back in 1979, shortly after the new government center opened in downtown Worthington. At the time, he worked the overnight shift, starting his workday at 10:30 p.m. and finishing up at 7:30 a.m., just as county staff arrived to work.
“I enjoyed it,” Prinzing said of working in the three-story government center as all of the offices were quiet.
Only one time does he recall getting spooked, and that’s when he spotted a couple of men trying to break into the building. When they saw him, they ran off and he never had another experience like it.
Prinzing, who grew up in Faribault, moved to Worthington in 1977. His mother had moved to the community and remarried, and her husband started Schaap Sanitation. Prinzing worked for him for more than a year before applying for the job with Nobles County.
“I worked on anything related to power in the building,” Prinzing said of his job in building maintenance. The overnight shift meant that he could spend time with his mom during the day, as his three children lived with their mother in another city.
Prinzing said the people he worked with in Nobles County were like his family — a feeling that remained through all of his years of work and the many faces that came and went from the buildings he maintained.
“I had no family (locally), so I kept on working,” he said. “When you don’t have a family, coming to work is like coming to a big family.”
During his career, he spent countless hours cleaning tile floors, washing the windows, emptying garbage and recycling bins, vacuuming and generally making the buildings look their best.
“I used the vacuum cleaner a lot,” Prinzing said. “It was a steady job.”
He worked in the library, the government center, human services, and, from 2002 until earlier this year, at the Prairie Justice Center. At the time of his retirement, he was working the 2 to 11 p.m. shift.
“I enjoyed making everything neat,” he said. “Some people come in and they mess everything up. They don’t mean to, but they do.”
And the best part of his job?
“The breaks,” he said in all seriousness, and then began to laugh. “No, I’m kidding. The people.”
Before his move to Worthington, Prinzing worked for railroads, both the Milwaukee and the Illinois Central. Taking care of the county’s buildings, though, was his favorite.
Now nearly a month and a half into his retirement, Prinzing is looking for things to keep him busy.
“I like to watch the Twins, but I’ll find something to do,” he said. “Sitting and watching TV all the time, that’s not good for a person. It’s OK for the first month.”
Prinzing said since he worked all of the time, he doesn’t have any hobbies. In retirement, he’s already volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels, and he really enjoyed that.
Then he paused.
“I should have kept on working,” he shared. “I could have worked ’til I was 100.”