Inside Iowa State
Sept. 26, 1997
No plans for retirement
by Linda Charles
When Floyd Brown started work at the Iowa State creamery in 1952, the university was still a college and there were only 7,500 students on campus.
Brown celebrated his 80th birthday this month. He's still working full time at Iowa State as a clerk in facilities planning and management and has no plans to retire. About the only time he has been off work in the nearly 45 years he has been on campus were days spent in the hospital, once for injuries when he fell at the creamery, three short trips for other health problems and this summer for knee surgery.
Recovering from the knee surgery reinforced his desire to keep working.
"I'd sooner work than sit around," he said, and added with a smile that if he were to retire, "my wife would just put me to work, so I'm better off here."
When he started, Brown said, Iowa State operated a full- fledged creamery, bottling milk, making ice cream and producing some of the best cheeses around. Brown ran the machines for the dairy, which closed in 1969, and then moved to bookkeeping in the department. In 1976, he began his current position, which involves tracking and checking university purchases of coal, limestone and ash.
One memory that has stuck in his mind through the years is an early Sunday morning when he discovered a lab in the creamery on fire. He said he still can remember the grounds superintendent, who lived on campus, running over in his bathrobe and slippers.
"I told him, 'Don't get excited, the thing's shot,'" Brown said. Someone had left a burner on, and the fire gutted the lab and some of the building.
Fires aside, the creamery did a booming business in its day, he said. It bottled and supplied milk for the campus vending machines and delivered milk to Pammel Court families. It also had a thriving ice cream business, but its crowning glory was the various cheeses made there, including blue cheese, colby, cheddar and Swiss.
Brown said the university shipped its cheese across the country, from Texas to Pennsylvania and western states. "We had the best and they knew it," he said.
Brown literally has watched Iowa State grow up around him. For him, there are new buildings everywhere. "They've built about two-thirds of the place since I've been here," he said.
Brown said he enjoys his current job. "It's a pleasant environment and they keep me busy.
"Everybody but Personnel asks me when I'm going to retire. I know I can't keep on until I'm 100, but I hate the idea of retiring."
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