94-year-old man remains a dedicated medical consultant in BismarckBISMARCK — Ed Laskowski’s co-workers have told him there’s a mandatory retirement in his future. The 94-year-old Bismarck man isn’t too worried. He still has 5 1/2 years until his “forced” retirement at age 100.
By: Teri Finneman, The Jamestown Sun
Editor’s note: This is the second story in a eight-part series featuring North Dakotans age 80 or older still making a difference in their communities.
BISMARCK — Ed Laskowski’s co-workers have told him there’s a mandatory retirement in his future.
The 94-year-old Bismarck man isn’t too worried. He still has 5 1/2 years until his “forced” retirement at age 100.
Laskowski is the chief medical consultant at Disability Determination Services, where his co-workers praise his longtime dedication.
The former neurosurgeon works 32 hours a week, reading medical evidence and deciding whether claimants are eligible for Social Security disability. He said it’s a blessing to still be able to contribute in some way at his age.
“I feel that I can do something, and I feel that I’m helping the community,” Laskowski said of why he keeps working. “So, it’s beautiful as far as I’m concerned to just be here. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Laskowski was in his early 60s when he retired from neurosurgery. He foresaw spending his summers golfing and being under his wife’s feet when the winter months came.
Looking for a way to occupy his time, he went to work as medical director for the state Workers Compensation Bureau. Because the Social Security disability office was in the same building at the time, he was asked to help there as well.
He eventually dropped his workers compensation duties and has spent the past 25 years working solely with Social Security disability.
Co-worker Brenda Rouse said they love having Laskowski on the staff.
“He’s not only a great medical consultant that helps us with our cases. He’s also a mentor and a friend and just a wonderful individual with a servant’s heart,” she said.
Operations Manager Al Ettl said Laskowski is like a second father to him.
“I just think that he’s been a real model of how to conduct oneself in the workplace, how to contribute to the agency and how to bring people together for a common purpose,” he said.
Of course, Laskowski’s life isn’t all work and no fun. He and his wife, Arloene, like to spend a few months of the year in Arizona. She also picks him up for lunch every day, and they do the crossword puzzle together.
Each year, he plays in a golf tournament named in his honor. He serves on a church committee and is working on a book about things he’s experienced and seen in medicine.
Laskowski said he’s fortunate his health is good and allows him to keep working.
“It’s a good, fun thing for me. I enjoy working,” he said. “My wife says, ‘You may be a workaholic,’ but I feel that it’s good for me and I think it’s good for the community.”
Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.