Bork starting a new chapter

Thursday, December 28, 2017
A Chamber Coffee honoring Jane’s retirement took place at Three Sisters’ Bistro. Jane’s family took a photo to commemorate the occasion. Pictured from left, Rockie, Jane, Kellie, Chad and Shane Bork. (Photo by Megan Sabin)

Jane Bork’s last day at Smith Insurance Services in Remsen was Wednesday, December 20, as she retired to start a new chapter in her life after 38 years and eight months with the company.

When asked what made her decide now was the time to retire, Jane responded. “I wasn’t ready to retire at age 65 so I gave them a three-year notice and now I’m at the end of that three-year period. Not sure where that three years went.”

Jane shared her background of working with the insurance company and some fun and interesting stories she had during her 38+ years-long career. She stated, “When I began working here on May 29, 1979, this agency was called Jim & Steve Smith Insurance. My first boss, Jim Smith, would come over every Wednesday afternoon to work with me. Back in 1979 and until Jim retired, he would take me next door to Barthole’s Corner for a pop break. Then for every customer that would come in our office, back we’d go to Barthole’s for another pop but the customers were treated to a drink of their choice. Sometimes after going to Barthole’s Corner, we’d walk across the street to Ritz Service and have another pop. So one break could turn into three or more in one afternoon! After Jim retired, his son, Steve Smith, bought the agency and changed the name to Smith Insurance Services. Steve would come over a few times a week and we’d have a pop at Barthole’s Corner or Ritz’s, too. A few years ago, Smith Insurance Services was purchased by Ed and Joe Schlenger, who have worked in our home office for several years. On February 7, 2015, I was presented the “Citizen of the Year” award after being nominated by my son and fellow work partner, Shane. I was totally caught off guard but proud to be honored as the Remsen Community has been a big part of our family lives since 1976. I’ve been privileged to work with some amazing employers and employees. Other Smith Insurance staff members are Gina Foresman, Margaret Rohwer, and Tim Holmes.”

Jane Bork sits at her desk during her last day at the office on December 20. She is retiring after almost 39 years of service to the Insurance company. (Photo by Megan Sabin)

Now that Jane has retired, she explained what she will miss most about working, “I will mostly miss working with our customers. Some have been clients of mine since I started. They are more than just clients. They become more like part of your family. The close relationship you have and the trust you earn are so important and I’ll miss that. I know they will continue to get the great service and care that they expect. I’ve had a great staff to work with out of our home office in Marcus. In fact, Barb Brady and Julie Frederick will be coming to the Remsen office a few days a week to perform my duties and are quite qualified. Over five years ago, my son, Shane, joined our team, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him. I wasn’t sure how that would work but I can truly say it has been fun and exciting to see his energy put into his job here. He is an asset to this office and doing a great job. He will continue to be here in the Remsen office every day after I retire. I feel VERY confident the business is in great hands.”

Now being retired, Jane has been looking forward to having more time to attend some special events, “My husband, Rockie, and I will continue to attend a lot of our grandchildren’s school and sporting events. Spending time with our sons and their families is top priority. We’re also looking forward to spending more time during the camping season at our place at Lake Okoboji where we enjoy golfing, a good book, going to the beach, or just relaxing with our awesome camping family. There are some house projects that have been on my honey-do list for awhile that we’ll try to check off. I will also fill in at the insurance office when needed, so I won’t be far away.”

Family is very important to Jane and she is excited to have more time to spend with her family, “My husband, Rockie, began teaching and coaching at Remsen-Union in 1976 and retired in 2008. He still teaches driver’s education, sub-teaches, and coaches Jr. High sports. Our son, Kellie, and his wife, Kathy, live in Remsen. His son, Jeremy, is a Youth Pastor in Grand Rapids, Mich. Kellie’s daughter, Taylor, and her husband, Dustin, and their daughter, Ellie, live and work in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Our son, Chad, and his wife, Jill, live in Sioux City. Their daughter, Jenna, attends college at Morningside, and son, Brayden, goes to the University of South Dakota, and their youngest, Koby, attends Bishop Heelan High School. Our son, Shane, and his wife, Taylor, live in Remsen. Their children, Jaylen, Kyler, Kamden, and Laiken attend MMCRU Schools. I’ve been on the Remsen Library Board of Directors since 1981, served on the Remsen Chamber of Commerce, and serve on the St. Paul Lutheran Church alter guild and Endowment Committee. Our family has been blessed to be part of this community.”

She will miss the office but is proud to have been able to serve her customers and the city of Remsen, “It has been a pleasure working at this office. The Remsen Community was a great place to raise our three sons, attend church, shop, and work. Many changes have been made over the years in the insurance world, the town of Remsen and surrounding areas, but nothing can ever take the place of all the memories and friendships we’ve made over the years.”