November 26, 2004
Grandmother, 90, Plans to Retire at 100
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On Friday, Missouri's oldest full-time state employee will celebrate her 90th birthday. Virginia Arn figures she has 10 years to go before it's time to retire.
"This job has been heaven," Arn said. "I love the people. I have a lot of fun with them. People are always asking me how old I am, and I don't mind telling them. But I also tell them I'm going to work until I'm 100, and then I'm going to take four or five years off and party."
For the past 5 1/2 years, Arn has worked as a greeter at the Division of Motor Vehicle and Drivers Licensing office in Raytown. The job, combined with dancing at least four times a week, keeps her going.
"Just think about it, 90 years old and working with a smile every day at the DMV, one place most people don't like to go," said Raymond Hune, division director for the department.
Arn's job at the office is to greet people as they come in the door, help them find the right line and make sure they have the right paperwork. She was the first hire of office manager Dave Hostetler and has the best attendance record in the office.
"She made so many friends, people would say they came to this office just because of her," Hostetler said. "We realized we had a gold mine in her."
Arn didn't take her first job until she was 55 after her husband became ill and she started working in a mailroom. In the years since, all of her jobs have involved talking to people.
Now a widow, Arn has two children, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren and another on the way.
"She is awesome and inspiring," said her daughter, Cherie Erickson, of Olathe. "She makes my energy level look weak."
After work, Arn said she likes to go ballroom dancing.
"Friday nights I'm at the Moose Lodge, Saturday at the American Legion and just about anytime at the Camelot Ballroom," she said. She's spending her birthday with family members, who have promised to take her dancing before and after dinner.
"She has been this way all her life. I remember when she was younger she would come out and play baseball with us guys and ride horses," said Arn's son, David Arn, of Raytown. "You almost kind of figured that because of her lifestyle she was going to be old."