After 22 years of employment, the oldest employee at the Seymour Department of Public Works has retired.
Tim Ashburn of Seymour worked his last shift Jan. 4 but returned the next day to celebrate his retirement with about 30 now former co-workers.
During his time with DPW, the 60-year-old told everyone he wanted pizza when he retired. His co-workers granted him that wish with a party that featured pizza, followed by cookies for dessert. There also was plenty of talk about stories of his years on the job.
Prominent in the DPW garage at Freeman Field, there was a large electronic road sign that read “Good luck Timmy!”
Ashburn said he will miss working with his co-workers, and he enjoyed the party.
During his time on the job, Ashburn spent time as a janitor, collecting recyclables, mowing grass and operating a forklift.
He did a little bit of everything over the years, said Chad Dixon, DPW director and Ashburn’s former boss.
Dixon said Ashburn’s retirement is deserved, and he also will remember him for one thing.
“You always get a smile,” Dixon said. “If you make him laugh, it’s a good day.”
Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson, who was in attendance at the party, agreed.
“He has always got a smile. Any time you see him, he has got a big smile on his face and is willing to chat with you for a second,” he said.
Nicholson said he met Ashburn years ago when he would pick up recycling at the mayor’s former bicycle business downtown.
“I think everybody appreciates the energy that he brings and the uplifting boost he gives a little bit of,” Nicholson said.
The Seymour mayor declared Jan. 5, 2021, as Tim Ashburn Day during the party.
The proclamation read, “Many good times were had with Tim, including raucous laughter, which nearly made him pass out. His presence will definitely be missed at DPW.”
Ashburn received a plaque for his 22 years of service with DPW from John Edwards, supervisor of sanitary services for the department. He also received gifts, including a personalized road sign congratulating him on his retirement, gift cards and Indiana University spirit wear to commemorate his favorite college team.
Mike Caudill, a co-worker of Tim’s, said Ashburn is not only a fun person to be around in the workplace but an excellent worker.
“He’s probably one of the nicest people you’re going to meet. Everybody here gets along good with him and everything, and Timmy is more of a people person,” Caudill said. “He’s willing to help anybody. Whatever he’s told, he does. He doesn’t back talk. He goes and does it and does it really well.”
Caudill said while he has worked with Ashburn a lot and would “work another 20 years with him.”
Bernie Bryant, environmental educator for the department, said Ashburn has a good work ethic.
“I’ve been here for almost 12 years. He knows how it’s all done. He knows the best way to do it,” she said.
She said Ashburn was very generous around the department, giving out cards on holidays and buying new employees a can of pop.
In 2013, Ashburn, who has cognitive disabilities, received the Melvin Maynard Award from The Arc of Jackson County for his advancement of opportunities in the community for people with disabilities.
The annual award is given to an individual who shows the drive to become independent, is a positive role model for others, helps others and is a joy to be around. It’s named after Melvin Maynard, the son of Marvin and Ruth Maynard of Seymour, who died in 1990 at the age of 35 when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle to work at Lee’s Inn.
He is a Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County athlete and has been active in the community in the past, joining bowling and softball leagues.
Following his retirement party, Ashburn received a ride home in an automated recycle truck.