After a 32-year career as a high school history teacher and coach, Timnath resident Gary Phillips decided to go a different direction for his second career: Timnath Reservoir attendant. As a lover of the outdoors with free time and an interest in meeting new people, the job was a perfect fit for his retirement.
Gary likes to joke that the job “saved his marriage’ by getting him out of the house.
Timnath Reservoir attendants greet guests, check permits and sell passes to visitors, among numerous other tasks to ensure the safety and security of the popular recreational area. Gary loves being part of the four-person reservoir team, who have become a tight-knit crew with no shortage of jokes and good times together.
But the best part of the job for Gary is engaging with the visitors.
“There are so many opportunities to meet people, which is something that can be challenging at retirement age,” he said.
Gary has been married for 60 years. He married his wife, Helen, when she was just 19 and he was 23. Gary was serving in the Navy when his best friend introduced them—” He’s still asking for a finder’s fee,” Gary jokes.
Helen and Gary have two sons. The oldest is a college professor with a Ph.D. in neurobiology and the youngest is a chef. They also have a 20-year-old grandson who lives in New York City.
The couple moved from California to Colorado in the 80s so that they could see their son, at the time a CSU student, more often. They’ve lived in Fairview Village for the past nine years.
Gary turned 83 this February, though you wouldn’t guess it—he stays fit using his basement gym, where he works out every day. He’s an avid reader and specifically enjoys history, biographies, and crime-solving novels. Every year he goes hunting for pheasant, wild turkey, and quail in Nebraska with a few friends, and enjoys fly fishing and landscaping.
Gary and Helen celebrated his birthday this year with a quiet candlelight dinner. If you see him out on the reservoir this month, don’t forget to wish him a happy birthday!