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Prime Time | Diane Engel: Toffle retiring after 20 years of volunteer service

Ida Toffle has been a RSVP Volunteer Hostess at the front desk of the Paul Bunyan Senior Center for about 20 years.

In that time, she has gotten to know a lot of people coming into the center.  She works on her beautiful baby quilts and shares her delightful stories.  She is interesting, compassionate and has a great sense of humor.  

Ida received her registered nursing degree and served in Europe as an Army nurse in WWII.  She has a bachelor of arts degree in biological sciences.  She has worked with premature babies, with hospice, as a school nurse, and as a camp nurse at Concordia Language Village.  She and her husband raised two sons on their farm in the Boy River area.

She has done quilting since the age of 14 and currently makes beautiful baby quilts that are sold in the Senior Creations Gift Shop.  She also donated a quilt to the Senior Center that is on display in our dining room of Paul Bunyan and Babe by the waterfront in honor of Paul’s 75th birthday.  She likes to read, play cards and Scrabble.    

For her 80th birthday, her son was able to offer her an opportunity to take a test flight in a plane because this was something she had always wanted to do.  She was able to complete the takeoff by herself and fly above Lake Bemidji.  The pilot landed the plane “otherwise we would still be in the air,”  Ida stated.  

Ida has decided to retire from volunteering at the front desk.  We want to thank Ida for volunteering her time and talents to the Senior Center.  We will miss her smiling face and interesting stories at the desk.  Ida has been a prime example of living life to the fullest and she isn’t done yet.  

If you would like to help the Senior Center, you can donate any of the following and drop it off at the front desk: white or colored copy paper, stainless silverware, napkins, No. 10 envelopes, postage stamps, post-it notes, coffee, wrapped candy, store-bought cookies.  We also take donations of new and used greeting cards with verses attached, craft supplies, puzzles, and jewelry and purses (for the RSVP Program).

For more information, call (218) 751-8836.  The Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center is at 216 3rd St. NW, Bemidji.


DIANE ENGEL is executive director of the Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center.