A great last walk: Longtime pediatrician joined by family on last day of workPublished 7:53am Monday, June 9, 2014 Updated 9:54am Monday, June 9, 2014
It began more than 20 years ago as a way for Larry Eisinger to show support for his neighbor, Dan Kunz, who was serving in the Navy during the Gulf War.
Eisinger began walking to work in an effort to avoid using gasoline as much as possible. From these beginnings, Eisinger developed a habit that he maintained through rough Minnesota winters and muggy summer days.
On May 30, after 36 years as a pediatrician with Lake Region Healthcare, Eisinger took his last walk to work.
But to his surprise, he was not alone.
Eisinger’s three adult children, Brian, Rolf and Annie, each arrived in town at different times last week. At Brian’s suggestion, they all decided to join Larry and his wife, Nancy, on that final walk.
“It was really nice to have my family all there,” Eisinger said.
Eisinger’s children initially flew in for his retirement dinner on May 29. But the next morning, Brian brought up the idea of the whole family making the walk together.
It was an idea that Nancy took to immediately.
“It was so special,” she said. “It’s a way that we reflect as a family and honor the community. The people in Fergus are wonderful.”
The walk from Eisinger’s house on the 200 block of West Hazel Street to his office on Mill Street takes about 17.5 minutes, he said. He preferred to ride his bike more frequently in the summer and did not like to walk in heavy rain, but walks often in the winter.
Eisinger generally made the walk four times a day: to work, home for lunch and back to the office before returning home for the night.
“It’s a very refreshing one-mile walk,” Eisinger said of the path that takes him around Lake Alice and into downtown Fergus Falls.
Eisinger began considering retirement a few years ago and felt this was a good time in his life to move on to the next chapter. It was a tough decision, primarily when Eisinger thought of leaving his patients.
But he is thankful to his coworkers at the clinic for more than three decades of excellent work. He is also in the process of setting up a schedule to do some volunteer clinic work.
“You don’t have to worry about the business of medicine,” Eisinger said of volunteer work. “You can just be a doc.”
Larry and Nancy spent time this week on the lake, and Larry plans to spend some time on the North Country Trail in the coming months. He is certainly enjoying retirement in the early going.
But his retirement has been made even sweeter by his final day at work and his walk to remember.
“It was probably one of the most emotional walks of my career,” he said. “We’re a pretty spontaneous family.”