2nd retirement better than 1st

Published 9:15 am Monday, November 2, 2009

It’s been more than 10 years since Larry Kellogg retired, and in mid-October he retired again.

Kellogg retired Oct. 14 as finance director of the Albert Lea School District, and Lori Volz took over Oct. 19.

Larry Kellogg first retired in 1998 from Judd, Ostermann, Demerol and Kellogg, an accounting firm in Owatonna, but his working days were not over.

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Kellogg had worked with the Owatonna School District and spoke with a few district officials after their business manager left.

Kellogg had just finished building a house in Owatonna, and the district officials asked Kellogg if he had any other retirement plans. Kellogg was asked to help the district prepare for an audit and the end of the school year in 1998. He and the district originally agreed to a short contract.

“We agreed on a three-month contract that I would just come in and get the books ready for the new auditors, and eight years later I was still there,” Kellogg said. “It turned out to be a good arrangement for me, a good arrangement for them, and so I did that job for eight years.”

Kellogg contacted former Superintendent David Prescott, who he knew from attending conferences and meetings with, to inquire about the finance director position that opened up in the Albert Lea School District.

“I was out fishing out on the Oahe Reservoir in the middle of South Dakota in June of 2006. Got in that night and there was a message to call Dr. Prescott at Albert Lea schools,” Kellogg said.

Soon after Kellogg met with Prescott and the board, and he started as Albert Lea’s finance director that July.

Kellogg plans to spend this retirement differently than his first. He recently moved back to his childhood home near Watertown, S.D. He’ll be closer to his parents who live in Watertown. The move is a positive one for Kellogg and his family because he’ll be close to his family, and he’ll be in an area known for hunting and fishing.

“I love to hunt and fish and there’s not much of a better place to live if you love and fish than South Dakota,” Kellogg said.

Had he not started working with the Owatonna schools, Kellogg said he would have spent more time hunting and fishing. However, it wouldn’t have been a complete retirement. Kellogg said he likely would have spent more time working with the Pearle Vision locations he owns along with his three daughters.

Technically, Kellogg has been retired since June 30, the same day Prescott retired as superintendent. Kellogg sold his home in Owatonna in July and has been living in an apartment since then. He said he stayed on because Superintendent Mike Funk asked Kellogg to stay on to help with the transition.

Lori Volz took over as finance director on Oct. 19. Kellogg retired a few days before that to move back home in time to spend the opening weekend of the pheasant hunting season with his children and grandchildren, who were off of school because of MEA.

Kellogg has three daughters, a stepson and 10 grandchildren.

Another reason Kellogg worked past his retirement date was because he was injured in a car crash last April. Kellogg was in Watertown visiting family for Easter, and he was going to pick up his parents to meet his brother for supper. When he was about three miles from his parent’s home, he and another car collided going around a curve. Kellogg’s right shoulder was injured and had to be surgically repaired, but he said he was fortunate because a passenger in the other vehicle was killed.

Though he received a lot of help from other district staff, Kellogg said he missed work for about a month. Making up for the lost time was another reason Kellogg worked past his official retirement date.

“Knowing that I was going to retire, there were lots of things I wanted to get done prior to my leaving,” he said. “This is another reason I’m here past my retirement date of June 30. Because there were things I wanted to get done, and unfortunately, no one comes into my office and does all my work.”

Kellogg said his shoulder is mostly healed now, though it’s still not as strong as it used to be.

When Kellogg looks back over his time in Albert Lea, one thing he remembers is changing insurance programs that have saved the district money. He also looks back fondly on the passing an operating referendum that has helped the district endure the recent tough economic times.

Recently, schools have experienced tough times as the state has deferred payments to schools. However, Kellogg said the district is doing well to weather the tough times, but they’ve had to use up some of their fund balance.

Aside from his accomplishment and the recent economic challenges, Kellogg said he’ll miss the people he worked with.

“I’ve really enjoyed my stay here. It’s just been a great group of people to work with, and I’m really going to miss them,” he said.

The thing Kellogg said he’ll look back most fondly on is the chance to make a difference in the student’s lives.

“When you’re in private business, most of your decisions are based upon how is this going to affect the bottom line — what is this going to do for our profits,” Kellogg said. “So a lot of your thinking has to do with generating revenue. It’s been nice to be able to do something that benefits kids and the community, and think about things other than how are you going to make money. It’s been very rewarding that way.”