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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Joe Dillard's retirement tree, 'a gift that keeps on giving'

By JOE DILLARD/MISSOURIAN READER
August 12, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
After Joe Dillard retired from the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1998, he bought a retirement tree with some of the gift money from his retirement party. He wrote of the tree: "Each time I look out the window, it brings back a lot of pleasant memories of my career with the Department, my many MDC friends, and the generous contributions that were given to help set up the Joe G. Dillard Family and Friends Scholarship at the University of Missouri."

Joe Dillard, a longtime Columbia resident, recently published his first book, "A Full Cup of Joe," a autobiography of his funny life experiences thus far.

My Retirement Tree: A gift that keeps on giving

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I retired from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for the first time in June 1998. At that time, it was customary to have a fairly substantial retirement function including a meal, skit and gifts. Of course, I wanted something different and asked folks to give money to help me establish a scholarship at the University of Missouri in fisheries and wildlife or agriculture journalism. I told them I would match their gifts dollar for dollar. (What they didn’t know was that at that time it took $10,000 to fully fund one.) They did give $1,500 and I filled in the rest later. As of this date, eight students have been recipients. One of the recipients is now working for MDC.

Now, about the tree.

Steve Weithman (former fisheries biologist, now deceased) was the treasurer for the retirement function and told me that he held back a couple hundred dollars for me to spend on something for myself. O.K., you guessed it; I bought a retirement tree and it is doing quite well. Each time I look out the window, it brings back a lot of pleasant memories of my career with the Department, my many MDC friends, and the generous contributions that were given to help set up the Joe G. Dillard Family and Friends Scholarship at the University of Missouri. Gifts that just keep on giving!

As I often say, “I am so old that I have forgotten the question, but the answer is education!”

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.