‘It’s been a good ride’: After 47-year career, Lincoln electrician rides into retirement in the same ’68 Charger he rode in on
The road of Larry Oltman's life led him through a lot of changes. But as he journeys into retirement, he knows one thing will be the same: he'll have his '68 Charger along for the ride.
The road that led Larry Oltman to his 1968 Dodge Charger began on his family’s six-generation farm.
He cleaned a lot of hog sheds and worked hard in the fields with very little equipment. Then, he traded the fields of Nebraska for the jungles of Vietnam.
When he returned to Lincoln, Oltman got a job at what is now Schneider Electric. He rolled up for his first day on August 18, 1972, in the Charger he ordered with his dad from Wilber five years prior – bought with money he earned working on the family farm.
Now, after 47 years with the same company – a period interrupted only briefly by one contract settlement – Oltman is trading in his scenery once again and retiring. Sort of.
“My main thing is going back to keep the family farm running,” he said.
Oltman says he’ll continue working the land with his sons, carrying on the tradition that has been in his family line for decades.
“We’ve existed this long and plan on going longer, “he said.
He also plans to do as much traveling with his lady friend as COVID-19 will let him.
Oltman he says he’ll miss all the coworkers and friends he’s leaving behind. He’s seen over 6,000 of them come and go. He passed around an address book before leaving so he could stay in touch.
“There’s a lot of memories,” he said. “There’s been some pretty crazy times – I can’t repeat those.”
Oltman says he has seen a lot of changes in the industry over his time with Schneider. He says he’s proud of the newest crop of workers and their work ethic. He says he hopes they can retire like he gets to.
He’s taking the memories – and his Charger – with him. It’s been restored only once, about two-and-a-half years ago. He had to dodge deer and floodwater on his way in Friday.
The road of Larry Oltman’s life led him through a lot of changes. But as he journeys into retirement, he knows one thing will be the same: he’ll have his ’68 Charger along for the ride.