University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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UW-Eau Claire Custodian Retires After
30 Years Without Using Any Sick Leave

 MAILED:  Nov. 11, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire custodian Jim Page retired Oct. 31 with a remarkable attendance record. Page worked 30 years, mostly in McIntyre Library, and never used a day of sick leave. Nor did he miss work during the eight years he was at Peters Meats before coming to the university, and he doesn’t remember ever staying home from school because of illness when he was growing up.

“I can’t remember a time when I took a sick day. Sure, I’ve had colds, a little flu, maybe a headache, but not enough to stay home for. I’ve been fortunate, and I can only attribute it to the good Lord,” Page said. “Like I told my son, your dad never set any records but I’ve got one now. It probably doesn’t mean much to anyone else but in the back of my mind it’s there.”

No other member of UW-Eau Claire’s classified staff, who fill a variety of civil service jobs in support of the larger educational mission, has had such a record as far as Donna Weber, interim director of Human Resources, knows.

“The way I see it when you’re hired for a job, they expect you to be there. I didn’t believe in taking sick time just to have a day off,” Page said.

Page joined the university’s custodial staff in May 1973. Except for brief stints in Schofield Hall and in Recreation, he worked in the library, mostly on the third and fifth floors.

“Jim was a good custodian. He knew his job, took initiative when necessary, helped out others and was reliable. You could say he was off the charts in that regard,” said custodial services manager Ray Francis.

Page, who turned 65 in October, preferred to work nights and often showed up for work two hours early. He said he’s always had a positive attitude and never minded the work.

“I wouldn’t work days. I had chances because of my seniority but I preferred nights,” Page said. “That way I never had to miss anything when my kids were growing up. It became a habit.”

Page said the best thing about his job was interacting with college students. During his last days of work, several students who regularly study in the library stopped to wish him luck. “I especially liked the kids. I never had any trouble with them. This is a good university with lots of good kids.”

“My advice to others about sick leave is simple: Keep it, don’t use it. You don’t know when you might really need it. I was fortunate and never had a stroke or heart attack or anything seriously wrong,” he said.

Unlike some retirees, Page has no plans to travel. “I hate traveling and you’ll never get me in an airplane,” he says. He’ll continue to ride his bike everyday, visiting with people along the way and dropping in at his daughter’s house to see his 18-month old granddaughter.

A sports fan, he’ll keep up on his favorite teams. A longtime member of Grace Lutheran Church, he and his wife are looking forward to son Jim’s graduation from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, in May.

For now, he says, it just feels like he’s on vacation.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: November 11, 2003