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Saying 'goodbye' after four decades

Eldon Brasel will leave the office for the last time Dec. 31.

It was just after the summer of '69. Eldon Brasel had returned from active duty service in the Army Reserves when his father told him of a potential opening at Tesch Lumber.

Known as a hardworking farm kid, Brasel was hired. He hasn't looked back since - until maybe now, as he approaches his retirement.

Brasel was with the company in 1971 when it was purchased by Crane Johnson Lumber - the name it still goes by today.

Over the years, he's seen quite a few changes in the industry. Of course, computers weren't quite the norm they are now, and the varieties of specialized products weren't near as vast.

"When I started, everything was done by hand," said a gentle Brasel.

He was also used to standards in home building products, with not too much selection.

"Now, it's gotten so everything is so specialized," Brasel said. So much so that special orders are now the standard.

Throughout those years of change, Brasel has enjoyed working with a variety of people, including those in sales, and contractors. Having served as the assistant manager for more than 30 years, he's had plenty of opportunities to interact with many.

Greg Neisen, manager at Crane Lumber, said Brasel has always been a joy for those he worked with.

"He'll be missed by everyone," Neisen said. "He's never had bad relations with anyone."

As for Brasel, he's excited to have extra time available for his hobbies, which include wood and metal working. He'll also have a few more days off to visit his two sons, along with their families and his grandkids, all of whom live in Wisconsin and northeast Minnesota.

A serious fan, he's hoping to catch a few more Twins games. He'll also continue on the tradition of rooting for Perham baseball, a cause he feels quite deeply about

And, although he's leaving his post, he hopes he leaves the workforce with a strong message: "All through life I've believed in family tradition and faith - that's what gets you through it."