Now and Then, Joan Sayre to retire after 47 years

M. Kate West
Chester Editor

“I feel good about it; it’s time for myself,” Joan Sayre said on her final day of work at Lassen Gift Company Aug. 23. “Once I made the decision it has been easier. I will always be in Chester.”

She is leaving work behind after nearly 47 years and said she is feeling a little sad.

“I’m quitting because of health, otherwise I’d still be here,” she said.

Chester resident Joan Sayre operates the soda fountain for pharmacists Larry Hope and Jim Warner at Lassen Drug. She started work Sept. 1, 1964, and continued with the business after it was purchased by Will and Sharon Henry Oct. 1, 1971. Photo submitted

Her regrets include not offering further service to the many people who have lived and traveled to the Lake Almanor Basin.

“I’ll miss the people, the three and four generations I’ve been waiting on. They always come back and check in with me; they’re like family,” she said.

Her 47 years with the company is indicative of the family work ethic. Her husband, John, retired three years ago after working 50 years at the Collins Pine Mill.

Sayre, a longtime resident of Chester, moved to the area in 1960, just in time to start her freshman year at Chester Junior-Senior High School.

An art class in her senior year sparked a lifetime interest in the arts. Remaining steady to those interests, she is a longtime member of the Chester Piece Makers Quilt Guild, a director on the Chester-Lake Almanor Museum board and a founding member of the now defunct Almanor Art Association.

Her first “real” job was as a waitress in the Old Town Chester Restaurant named Black Magic.

She has worked for Lassen Drug, now transformed into the Lassen Gift Company, since Sept. 1, 1964.

Retirement plans include enjoying her home and going for long walks.

“I want to be with my family and friends,” she said.

As for traveling, she said she and John are not big travelers and have no particular plans.

“This is God’s country. People travel many miles to get here and we live here,” Sayre said.

Lassen Gift Company owner Sharon Henry recognized Sayre’s accomplishments with special gifts and praise. To commemorate the day, Henry presented Sayre with flowers, balloons and a cake.

“We set everything up on a red table cloth, Joan’s favorite color, and we are having Chinese food, also Joan’s favorite,” Henry said.

In speaking about Joan’s retirement she said, “I always thought we’d do our 50 years together.”

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