At 102 Bob Vollmer is Indiana’s oldest state employee. Vollmer is retiring after nearly six decades on the job, saying that “your body tells you when it’s time to go.”
Bob Vollmer plans to report to work as a surveyor for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for the last time Feb. 6. The southern Indiana man, whose mother lived to be 108, joined the state agency in 1962. During his DNR career, the tools of the surveying trade evolved from paper and pencil to high-tech gear such as a handheld GNSS device.
The World War II veteran still travels Indiana collecting technical field data and confirming boundary lines for DNR-managed properties, but he said that his body finally is telling him it’s time to retire.
Vollmer said he plans to spend his retirement devoting himself to reading and farming. He also plans to take trips to some of the South Pacific islands he was on during his wartime service with the U.S. Navy.
Vollmer enlisted in the Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, according to a state announcement in 2016, when Gov. Eric Holcomb awarded him a Sagamore of the Wabash — one of Indiana’s highest honors.
After the war, Vollmer graduated from Purdue University with a degree in biological and agricultural engineering in 1952. He then worked for the Wabash Valley Association on reservoir and flood control projects before coming to work for the DNR.
Vollmer was profiled in POB in November 2016 at the young age of 99: Solo Notes: Surveying at Age 99
Photo Courtesy John Maxwell/Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources