Bond bids a retiring goodbye to Black Hills Plumbing

By: 
KateLynn Slaamot

Submitted photo

Above, Josiah Popma helps Becky Bond open gifts at Donna's Diner on Sunday, Feb. 9, during her retirement celebration. 

KateLynn Slaamot 

NLJ Correspondent

 

Becky Bond retired on Jan. 30 from Black Hills Plumbing after 30 years of employment and enjoying her many friendships there. According to Bond, there was never a dull moment. 

Bond was born and raised in Long Valley, South Dakota, before moving to Newcastle in 1979, and she had many odd jobs before landing at Black Hills Plumbing. Her jobs included working at JC Penney’s department store, the Old Mill Inn and Hardware Hank’s.

Even though she had only a general education diploma, Bond said, she always wanted to work in bookkeeping, but no one would give her a chance. However, after speaking to John Patik, the owner of Black Hills Plumbing, and after he asked if she could balance a checkbook, Patik hired her on the spot, she said. 

“I just couldn’t ask for a better boss,” Bond said. She said that Patik is great to work for and does a lot for his workers. 

Bond’s job consisted of bookkeeping, selling and whatever needed to be done. Bond was tenacious in her bookkeeping, she said, and always wanted her books to be balanced. 

The business had a homey, comfortable and family-oriented feel to it, Bond said. She had a great relationship with all of the “boys” that she worked with and was quite fond of them all, she said. 

“It was a ball,” Bond said. “I could tell you a ton of stories on those boys.” 

They were always pranking each other, and even customers got involved sometimes. 

One day, Bond went to start her car to warm it up and went back in the shop. When she went outside to her car, it was gone, and she thought it had been stolen. Of course, it was just a prank a coworker had played on her. Other pranks involved greasing windshield wipers and much more, Bond said. 

Another favorite memory of Bond’s was when a small snake got into the office. Bond is terrified of snakes, she said, and she jumped up on the counter and called Patik’s home next door. His son, Max, went over to the office and got rid of the snake. Bond joked that she was rescued by a 4-year-old. 

Everyone at Black Hills Plumbing was always willing to help each other and customers, Bond said. If someone needed to get into the shop for a part before it opened or after it closed, someone was always willing to go in early or stay late, according to Bond. 

“Kindness goes a long way,” she said.

Some life lessons that Bond learned and would like to share, she said, is the importance of working hard and earning your pay. She also noted the need to be on time and reliable, doing your best even if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

It’s also important to not get bitter if there are ever disagreements, but to be patient and try to work things out, she said. 

“You can work with anybody if your heart is into it,” Bond said. 

Patik said that he has appreciated working with Bond, whom he described as honest and loyal. 

“You couldn’t ask for a better bookkeeper,” Patik said. 

Besides her contribution to the business, Patik said, Bond is a cherished and integral part of the community of Newcastle. 

“She’s more like family than a coworker,” said Aaron Napolitano, a former coworker. He’s known her for more than a decade and said she was always prepared and considerate. 

“She was always bringing her baked goodies,” Napolitano said. 

Bond loves to bake and bakes every Sunday for church, she said. Now that she is retired, she also plans on keeping herself busy a couple of days a week by volunteering or helping others. She also enjoys painting and hopes to explore acrylic painting on canvas. 

Bond is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Jim, her two children and her grandchildren. 

Black Hills Plumbing is changing ownership, Bond said, and she wishes the new owners the best of luck. Bond said she is also grateful to live in Newcastle with its kind and loving people. 

“The people in this town are all wonderful if you just get to know them,” Bond said. 

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