HE’S already had a few farewells for his retirement, but electrician Laurie Brodbeck is finally retiring – for good this time.
The 83-year-old has had to hang up the tools again, but this time his business, Brodbeck Industries, trading as Tamworth Electrical Services, is also closing.
His four staff finished on Friday, but Mr Brodbeck will continue to work for a little while to tie up loose ends.
Mr Brodbeck was 16 and straight out of school when he started his apprenticeship with Jack Mannell at Scone in 1946.
He then worked at Coonamble and Dubbo, and after spending 16 years in Sydney, the family – his wife Mary and five children, Helen, Joan, Christine, Kathryn and Mark – made the trip to Tamworth.
“We came to Tamworth on May 9, 1973 and it was the best move we ever made,” Mr Brodbeck said.
“We were all in the one car, me, Mary, the five kids and our dog.”
The Tamworth business began on Goonoo Goonoo Rd before moving to Peel St and Bridge St, where they’ve been for the past 25 years.
Mr Brodbeck has seen huge changes in the industry over the years, with the development of computers making the biggest impact.
“Nothing stays the same for very long – new things come along all the time,” he said.
“The use of computers has been the biggest change in the way we do our business.”
Mr Brodbeck’s already had a few shots at retirement, travelling overseas and around Australia.
“I’ve retired four or five times and always came back,” he said.
“It’s boring being retired and I find it very interesting dealing with people.
“Some of my customers have been with me since we started.
“It’s been a very satisfying time working for the people of Tamworth.”
The Brodbecks will spend their time travelling in their bus, which has been refurbished as a motorhome.
“We’ll probably go right around Australia eventually, depending on how my health holds up,” Mr Brodbeck said.
They’ll also be visiting their children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“The kids have all been at me for years to knock off, saying it’s time to do nothing for while.”