After 37 years in the position, Barb Shea has retired as the secretary/manager of the Moody County Public Health Nurse office. Her final day was on Dec. 30.
Shea worked in the position with the county for 17 years, before working with the city, who had a contract with public health when Avera McKennan took over the location.
She remembered being hired on the day before Thanksgiving in 1979. The major change Shea saw during her time, was the switch to computers.
When WIC first started, a supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, she had to type all the checks. She said the computers were a “life-saving thing.”
Through the Public Health Nurse office’s work with county schools, and in general, her favorite memory of working at the hospital is the kids.
“It’s so fun to see the kids grow up,” Shea said. “They remember me if they see me in the store. They know I’m a familiar face.”
From getting to know the clients so well, she said she would always try to think of something about a family or a child when they would come in for a visit to ask how things are going.
In her retirement, Shea hopes to connect more with her five brothers after losing one over the summer.
“I want to connect more than we do now,” Shea said. “Our parents are gone, so I just want to see them more often.”
Two of her brothers live in Bruce, one in Brookings and the other two are in North Dakota and Nebraska.
Though her husband Craig will continue working another three months before his retirement, Shea said she plans to relax and enjoy time with her grandchildren.
Of when to retire, Shea said, she just knew.
“It was time,” Shea said. “My mind and my body told me it’s time to turn the reigns over to somebody else.”
Her replacement, who already works with Avera, lives in Pipestone and will start in the middle of January.
Though she will miss the clients, Shea is looking forward to the relaxation of retirement.
“I can’t believe how fast time has gone,” Shea said. “It doesn’t seem possible, that you’re at 37 years. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy life."