In 1969, a young school teacher left the education field to join his father in selling insurance.
Two years later, Bob Reed, who began selling policies for State Farm Insurance in 1927, passed away, leaving the office to his son, Pat. Among the elder Reed's effects were four elephant knickknacks.
Now, 43 years - and hundreds of elephants - later, Pat Reed will retire Oct. 31.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
A second-generation State Farm Insurance agent, Pat Reed packs up his office collection of elephant knickknacks. His collection began with four elephants his inherited when his father, Bob Reed, passed away in 1971. When Mitch Lunn takes over the agency on Nov. 1, it will mark the first time in 85 years that a Reed hasn’t been associated with State Farm in Fort Dodge.
"It was time," said Reed, with a chuckle. "Most people retire around 65 ... I'm well past that."
Reed, whose five children live throughout the United States, said he's looking forward to putting more miles on his Winnebago with his wife, Judy.
"We thought that, as long as we have our health, we should take advantage of it," he said.
If you go:
What: Retirement open house for Pat Reed
When: Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.
Where: Patrick W. Reed Agency, 328 S. EIghth St.
Reed's retirement brings to a close a continuous 85-year association between his family and State Farm in Fort Dodge.
In the early days, Bob Reed took the business on the road, so to speak, driving his 1927 Chalmers throughout Webster County to tout policies.
By 1952, the office was located at 1234 Fifth Ave. S. - right about where the altar of St. Paul Lutheran Church sits today, according to Pat Reed.
In 1997, the church, which was rebuilt after an arson fire in 1999, purchased Reed's Fifth Avenue property. He then moved the agency to rented offices at 328 S. Eighth St.
"We took over the top floor," Reed said. At the time, State Farm shared space with an auto brokerage.
These days, North Central Home Care occupies the lower level of the building.
That will change in November, when the home health care organization expands into the Reed's present space.
However, the agency will live on, albeit with a new name and a new location.
Mitch Lunn, of Fort Dodge, will take over for Reed on Nov. 1, moving the agency to 616 N. 15th St. Office Manager Colette Dreke, who has been with the agency since January 2000, will remain in her position.
Lunn, a 1998 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, has completed an preparatory internship with an agent in Jefferson to learn the ropes.
"Mitch has been a customer of ours for 16 years," Reed said.
In September 2011, Reed and State Farm began the search for a successor.
Lunn's name came to the top of the list.
"He's been working with us to acclimate himself to the office and make the transition," Reed said.
One such transition will be the departure of Reed's collection of elephants, which has grown to fill several shelves from modest beginnings.
"My father, who was active in the Republican party, kept four elephants on his desk," Reed said. "When he died, I asked my mother if I could keep them."
Over the years, Reed, who made his first dollar during World War II selling homemade sweets to soldiers on troop trains passing through Fort Dodge, has served the community in numerous ways. He's a past district governor for Rotary clubs in northern Iowa and served as member of the Fort Dodge Board of Education and the Trinity Regional Medical Center board.
Local canine lovers might recognize Reed from his service as show chairman for numerous Fort Dodge Kennel Club dog shows.
Upon retirement, Reed said that, after a trip to visit family in Georgia and Florida, he plans to continue to serve the community.
"I'm keeping my options open," he said.