SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A pillar of public service in Greene County has announced that this will be his last year as Greene County Commissioner.

Harold Bengsch says he will finish this year out and retire at the end of 2020. The 85-year-old says there wasn’t one specific thing that made him want to call it a career after 61 years of public service, but he’s looking forward to spending time with his wife Darlene.

“In that 61 years, she has never failed to support me in whatever I felt I needed to do, so that was a hard decision to make,” Bengsch said. “Looking at what we’re accomplishing, what has been set before us, I felt that this might be a good time to decide to step aside and put my efforts in community activities as well as doing some things that we haven’t done because I didn’t have time.”

On Tuesday evening Senator Roy Blunt released a statement on Bengsch’s retirement, stating his service has benefited the entire community.

“Harold is a good friend, I value his advice and I’m grateful that he chose to dedicate so much of his life to public service,” Blunt’s statement says. “His work as a commissioner added to his dedicated efforts to improve our local health system, particularly with regard to increasing access to mental and behavioral health care, and will have a long-lasting impact. I wish Harold and Darlene the best in their new chapter.”

Bengsch also spent 45 years as the head of the Springfield Greene County Health Department.