Rod Horsley holds up his decal of the Telephone Lady during his retirement celebration. He met with his friends at Alexander’s Beach Pub to celebrate. (Jordy Koenig photo)

End of an era for Okanagan Tel

Rod Horsley’s retirement closes an era

As one of the last people who worked for the Okanagan Telephone Company and is still around, Rod Horsley’s well-deserved retirement celebration was small, but warm.

For many years retirement meant receiving a reproduction print of the “Telephone Lady” as a farewell and thank you, but Horsley was honoured with the real decal for being a loyal employee for 47 years.

He started in Armstrong when he was only 18, and later he started his over 30-year run of install and repair.

“It was a good job; I liked the work,” Horsley solemnizes.

Jordy Koenig attended the quaint get-together and was excited for both Horsley’s retirement and the history that tagged along with it.

The Okanagan Telephone Company had slowly merged with B.C. Tel, which later joined forces with Alberta’s Telus, and Horsley was around for the ride.

“Things are changing so fast; it’s amazing,” Koenig nods.

Koenig worked with Horsley and they both found the changes that occured in the past few decades fascinating, such as the changing of cable materials from iron or steel to fibre.

His friends decribed Horsely as a man who was good at his job, which made it hard to keep up with him.

Previous co-worker Ryan Thiessen joked with Horsley about an instance when the retiree climbed up a pole, instead of wasting time with getting a ladder, and worked for almost two days on a repair, only coming down when the job was done and his shins were bloodied.

“He’s a guy who gets the job done,” Thiessen laughs.

Thiessen was happy to be celebrating his friend’s retirement and said that he was able to learn from Horsley.

“I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with him, no matter how hard I tried.”

Horsley spent his last 10 years working in and around Vernon and one of his favourite parts about his job was that he “was able to work independantly”.

Relaxation didn’t come to Horsley’s mind when asked how he would spend his days now that he didn’t have to go to work.

Instead, now that he is retired, Horsley plans to remain busy with his work on his ranch, which is located right on the outskirts of town.

“I have a farm to maintain.”