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Boreal Community Media

Gary Zinter retiring—sort of.

Mar 30, 2018 06:28AM ● By Editor
Now that Gary Zinter is cutting back on work he will have time to update the telephones in his house. Photo courtesy of Mary Zinter.

Few people along the North Shore are as well known or as well liked as Gary Zinter, Silver Bay. Zinter started as an insurance agent with Lutheran Brotherhood in 1975, and he has had, and still has, many clients in Cook and Lake counties. He recently announced he was retiring.

But why so soon?

“With mixed emotion, there comes a time to stop doing some things,” said Zinter. “For 43 years, I have been blessed with a vocation that I have thoroughly enjoyed. From my first day in 1975 with then Lutheran Brotherhood, I have been fortunate to partner with people in my work who have done the tasks that I am not good at. These include things such as computer work, typing, and filing, all of which, if left to me to perform, would have cut my career much shorter!

“The first partner I credit for my success is my wife, Betty, who worked in the office with me for 22 years. In 1996, I was extremely fortunate to have Mary Lashyro join our business. Mary brought her tremendous skills to the office, and also became fully licensed for insurance and security products. And for a number of our busier years, Renee Kelly worked alongside Mary and me.”

When asked why he was giving up the “ghost” after only 43 years, Gary replied, “Why am I retiring? You might be thinking, if Gary hasn’t retired yet at his age, why now? There are a number of reasons that make this the right time for me.

“The first is that Mary would like to spend more time with her husband, Ed, who has been retired for almost three years, and she also wants more time to be a grandma to her three new grandchildren who came along in 2017.

“Second, Greg and Cindy Hanson moved to the North Shore five years ago to begin their work with Thrivent with the idea I was going to retire someday (I think they thought this was never going to happen). 

“And third, the upstairs carpet and furniture in our home is 40 years old. Retirement means that Betty and I might finally have time to shop for replacements; it takes a lot of time for me to make these kinds of decisions!”

Gary said he has always worn “two hats.” When he was younger, he was a science, math, and biology high school teacher in Silver Bay for 18 years. But, he noted, “I would go home after school was out and put on my hat and clothes for Rapid Serve, a restaurant I owned and go to work there and sell hamburgers for 25 cents, malted milkshakes for 19 cents and French fries for 19 cents.”

During his years as an insurance agent, Gary said he wore a “financial hat and a fraternal hat.”

“I never tried to pressure anybody into buying insurance. I tried instead to be an educator. The fraternal hat that I wear is dedicated to the community.

As Gary explained, “Thrivent Financial is a member-owned and not for profit fraternal benefit society. One significant difference is that when members purchase Thrivent Financial insurance or annuity products, the tax exemption dollars that come from the sale of these products help create programs that help members, support communities, and churches. 

“One of those programs is called “Thrivent Choice.” Eligible Thrivent members are invited to direct their Choice Dollars to charitable 501©(3) organizations they care about.

Choice dollars for my eligible clients ranged from $25 to $1,300 in 2017. About $80,000 was directed to charitable organizations my clients care about for 2017.

“Another program available to members are Thrivent Action Teams. Members can sponsor two projects per year. In 2017 members held 62 action team projects for a total of $15,500.”

Although Gary and Mary are retiring, they will still sell and service Blue Cross Blue Shield products. “We will work part-time most of the year, but full-time when enrollment occurs for Medicare supplement products.

“Office hours will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call first if you want to stop in and make sure I am available. As usual, I will answer my phone during waking hours,” Gary said.

The retirement celebration for Gary Zinter and Mary Lashyro in Grand Marais will be held Tuesday, April 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery. Please RSVP by April 13 by calling (218) 226-3442 or emailing [email protected]

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