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After retirement, Anderson plans on family time

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After eight years, Duane Anderson’s time at Pine River-Backus teaching students industrial education is coming to an end.

Anderson said his retirement is coming at a time when he still feels healthy enough to enjoy his time off.

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“I feel good, excellent. My health is good. I still have all of my faculties. I feel real good about retiring now. I’ve done my job. Hopefully the kids enjoyed me, too, but it’s time to move on,” Anderson said.

Over the years, Anderson has taught woodworking, welding, small engines, robotics and manufacturing. Industry and industrial technology has always been part of Anderson’s work life, whether he is teaching it or living it.

Anderson graduated from high school in Crosby before earning a manufacturing and engineering degree at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“I started out in industry. Then I was coaching at a junior high in St. Cloud. It just convinced me to go in the opposite direction. Go into education and that way I could coach and teach at the same time,” Anderson said.

Anderson obtained his teaching degree in St. Cloud.

“I taught in Crosby 20 years (mainly welding) and then went into industry eight years,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s return to teaching came eight years ago when he began at Pine River-Backus.

“It’s been very good. Very pleasant. There are excellent people to work with. The kids have been good,” Anderson said, noting Project Lead the Way was his favorite class to teach.

“We started Project Lead the Way five years ago, which has brought the latest technology into our shop, which drew some of our best students. It’s been very good,” Anderson said. “Project lead the way is a lot of hands-on engineering, where they develop things on the computer with Inventor software. It’s 3D modeling. Then they go into the shop and make it. We do CNC projects. We do plastic mold injection. That also leads into robotics and programming.”

With retirement looming at the end of the school year, Anderson has big plans that include kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities. Surprisingly, welding is one thing he does not intend to do upon retiring.

“I’m going to sell my welding equipment now. I’m pretty much done with that area. I’ll mainly work on the house and do stuff like that. More wood stuff,” Anderson said.

He also intends to do a lot of traveling.

“I will hopefully do a lot of traveling all over the United States and hopefully overseas,” Anderson said. “I’ve been in every major city in the United States so far. My favorite is Boston.”

Like many retiring teachers, Anderson hopes to substitute teach. He is not planning to move away, but most of his substitute teaching might not be in the Pine River area.

“I‘m planning on subbing. I don’t know about up here. My daughter is going into graduate school this fall and I will sub probably in the Apple Valley area and take care of her little guy,” Anderson said. “We spend a lot of time down there now, helping her.”

Anderson and his wife, Barb, raised three children. Two live in the Minneapolis area, while one is in Wisconsin. Anderson said one of the advantages of teaching over industry is that industry required long hours away from home. It is no surprise that retirement will include family time.

Though he is retiring, Anderson is willing to offer one important lesson.

“It’s always been my philosophy that you never have to be perfect, but get as close as you can,” he said.

Travis Grimler can be reached at travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him at facebook.com/PEJTravis and on Twitter @PEJ_Travis.

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