Surveying ‘till 102

By on 21 January, 2020

Bob Vollmer, seen in a 2016 photograph provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, shows the now-102-year-old at work. The state’s oldest employee plans to retire next month, after nearly six decades on the job. John Maxwell/Indiana Department of Natural Resources via AP.

If you are worried the government may push official retirement age back to 70, save a thought for probably the world’s oldest surveyor: Bob Vollmer of Indiana in the United States, who, at 102 years old, is only now considering putting his feet up after nearly six decades at Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources.

NPR’s Weekend Edition describes the centenarian land surveyor as the oldest state employee in the history history of the US state of Indiana. According to the US public broadcaster, Mr Vollmer has never been one for a desk job, first serving in the Navy during World War II, then studying to be an engineer. It wasn’t until he turned 45 that he took up surveying for Indiana in the early 1960s at the then Department of Conservation.

“I have some great-grandkids coming along. Matter of fact, if I can live a little bit longer, I might be a great-great-grandfather.”

Mr Vollmer says after his planned retirement in February, he’s got “some projects” he’s preparing to build for the little ones, which he won’t reveal because “they’re going to be a surprise.” And, he told NPR, he might just build something for himself as well.

“Might build me a new swimming pool or something like that,” he says.

“He never wants to be idle,” Mr Vollmer’s boss, the department’s director of engineering Dale Gick told Outdoor Indiana magazine three years ago, when Mr Vollmer was still months away from reaching the century mark. “He’s always on the go, always moving. He works all the time, nights and week.”

Mr Vollmer points to genetics as a source for his longevity. He says his mother lived to the age of 108, and that she wasn’t the only person to make it past 100 on that side of his family.

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