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Holmgren could teach us all

By Staff | Mar 31, 2011

“My work is my craft,” says Kathryn Holmgren who works her last day today at Pelzer Law Firm in Estherville, concluding a 50-year career with the same firm.

Holmgren began her career with the firm just about four months after Pelzer himself joined William O. Anderson in practicing law. She was still in high school, and thanks to good teachers, she was able to adapt well to her new job. On top of that, she was an eager learner.

According to Max Pelzer, who has worked with Holmgren for her entire career, starting at the firm just months before she did, Kathryn initially took all dictation by shorthand, typing on a manual typewriter and using carbon paper for copies. There was no copy machine. If multiple copies were needed, she used a jelly pad with ink.

The office later had a Dictaphone machine that cut the record on cylinder, and the first copy machine used a wet solution that had to be constantly changed.

Now, she uses the modern Dictaphone and does all her legal work on a computer.

Holmgren’s eyes shine when she compares a cleanly typed brief to work of art. Then that’s understandable, considering how she has put everything she’s had into her job for the past 50 years.

It’s that pride in one’s work, pride in one’s self, that makes people like Holmgren stellar examples of what makes a community work.

People like her are the sinew and fiber that hold a community together. They’re what make it tick. A lot of people just come in and punch the clock or fill out a time card and leave at the end of day, oblivious – and probably not concerned – whether they made a contribution to society or not.

That’s certainly not the case with Kathryn. It’s that pride in workmanship that makes everyone else’s work that much easier.

A come-and-go reception will be held for Kathryn 4-6 p.m. Friday at the Sleep Inn community room. Please drop by and wish Kathryn well on her retirement. She’s mentioned travel as an interest she might like to pursue.

So bon voyage and enjoy your next trip, Kathryn!