ANNA — Anna Mayor Mark Pulfer and village council members were surprised, July 10, when, at the end of the regular council meeting, village Administrator Wayne York tendered his resignation in order to retire, effective that day.
“He said it was health issues with him and his wife,” Pulfer told the Sidney Daily News, Monday, Aug. 13.
York talked with the newspaper, Aug. 7.
“I planned to retire in 2016,” he said. That’s when had announced his retirement as administrator of the village of New Bremen several months in advance.
“As it got down to the wire, I thought not to retire. I jumped on board down at Anna. Now, it’s two years past retirement time,” he said. It was his 67th birthday that precipitated his thinking about retiring for the second time. He also felt that he had accomplished the things that the village had wanted him to do.
Pulfer said York’s most important contributions were “getting a sidewalk program kickstarted, some annexations and getting utilities under the interstate started. He laid the groundwork.”
The retiree, who lives in Jackson Center with his wife, Marianne, and their cat, Buddy, is proudest that he could finalize the annexation of a truck stop on the east side of Interstate 75 and the plan to run utilities to it.
“The bigger objective is to develop land on the east side of I-75. Anna’s been trying to get this done for something over 25 years. Every few years, they would make another attempt. They never could get all the pieces to fall together. That’s my biggest accomplishment,” York said.
The stage is set for development of a second annexation that is pending, a 43-acre site at the south end of Anna, and a seven-year project is underway to replace sidewalks throughout the village.
“It was a good two years. We got a lot of stuff done,” York said.
He’s still not ready to stop working altogether; however, he’d be interested in only part-time employment, perhaps delivering Airstream trailers.
“I love to travel. I’ve been in 48 states and two (Canadian) provinces,” he said. In other jobs he’s had, York has also traveled to Japan, Taiwan, the then Soviet Union and England.
He began his working life in Celina, while he was still in college at Wright State University Lake Campus. A Versailles High School graduate, he got a job in Celina’s engineering department. By the time he was 21, he was in charge of the three-man office.
He has since racked up more than 30 years of public service in Wapakoneta, New Bremen and Anna, but he worked in the private sector, too. York spent 10 years at Apex Bag Co. in Wapakoneta and sold insurance for three years.
“Public work is probably twice as complicated at private-sector work because of limitations of bidding and contracts, and the expenditure of funds is highly regulated,” he said. It was also deeply satisfying.
“I always enjoyed seeing the finished project, whether it was a new water well field or street reconstruction. I like to say, ‘I helped build that,’” he said. He also enjoyed conversations with his father-in-law, Richard Sailor, who was Jackson Center’s first administrator.
“Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, we talked about town business after church,” York said.
He’s looking forward to spending more time with his sons, Michael, of Loveland, and Matthew, of Jackson Center, and his daughter, Katy Zimpfer, of Botkins, and his six grandchildren, as well as making use of the fully stocked workroom left to Marianne and him by Sailor.
And then there are the trains.
“I have a couple of tons of railroad memorabilia,” including a locomotive bell, station name signs, photos and artifacts, York said. He sits on the board of the John Keller Trust Fund in Lima, which is in charge of the Lincoln Park Railroad exhibit there, and he is a member of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Railroad Historical Society.
His collection has been the subject of an episode of PBS’s “Tracks Ahead” program, and he has furnished information to several book authors.
He’d like to write a book himself, but not about railroads.
“At the Dayton Air Show, 10 years ago, I sat next to a couple. Her uncle was Gen. Frank Andrews. Andrews Air Force Base is named after him. He was killed in battle (in World War II. Gen. Dwight D.) Eisenhower picked up the mantle, became a war hero and president. We could have had a President Andrews,” York said. “This could wind up being a book.” Some of the prelimnary, casual research has been done. Now, he’ll have time to dig deeper.
“When you’re busy with full-time jobs, you can’t get into things like that,” he said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.