In October of 1993, Jan Whaley was hired by Dennis Erickson and Dennis Popplewell to handle insurance personnel and be secretary to the agents for the Story County Farm Bureau.
After nearly 24 years, Whaley, whose position changed and grew at the Farm Bureau office over the years, has decided to retire.
She wasn’t really ready to retire yet, she admits, but after suffering a massive stroke last year, followed by a cancer diagnosis and treatment, she came to a determination. “I figured if I can’t work, I might as well enjoy the grandkids. I’m glad to have a good support system,” she said.
Her career will be celebrated next week on June 28, with an open invitation to all who worked with and enjoyed seeing Whaley throughout her years with Story County Farm Bureau. She looks back fondly at her employment there.
“I took the job for better hours,” she said, indicating the hours she worked gave her a better schedule at home with her family. It was a part-time job at first. “When Gwen Frese retired, I went to work as a Federation office assistant and became full-time. I wrote for the Spokesman (Farm Bureau’s publication), did accounting work, membership, board meetings and other items that they wanted done.”
Through her work she got to know many people across the county. “I talked to everyone that came in. I got to know everyone,” she said.
She enjoyed the people, and she enjoyed the work she was doing. She liked helping people work on “ag in the classroom” initiatives, writing stories and taking pictures, doing annual meetings with the board members, etc.
Whaley is nearly a lifelong resident of Story County. Her family moved to Maxwell when she was 9 years old and she lived there until she got married and moved to her husband’s farm north of Maxwell. “We lived on the farm about 20 years and then we moved back into Maxwell when Dennis’ father died,” she said. They lived there until last year, when they made a move to Ankeny.
As she thinks about retirement, Whaley said she looks forward to sleeping in, watching her favorite shows and enjoying her grandkids and her life. Her cancer is now in remission, but through her recent health battles, she said she’s learned “not to take time for granted — enjoy everyone, every day.”
Her immediate family includes her husband of 45 years, Dennis; and their daughter, Kimberle Whaley Pohlman, 38, and her children: Gemma 16, Keegan, 13 and Jaxun, 8, and Rick Cope, her companion from Clarion; their son, Mark Whaley, 37, and his wife, Angie, and their children, Avery, 5, and Mason, 3, of Baxter.
As she makes her departure from Farm Bureau, Whaley would like to give a shout-out and big thanks to Ron Wood, Marty Schwager, Jeremy Coyle, all regional managers, all the board members, and all the agents and office assistants.