Allen Loges reads the inscription on the stainless steel watch that he was presented during his retirement ceremony at Billings Funeral Home on Friday, Aug. 31.

After 4 decades as an undertaker, Allen Loges has decided to under take some "new ventures."

The longtime funeral director was honored by Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill during a retirement ceremony on Friday, Aug. 31.  The mayor presented Loges with a certificate in recognition of his "many years of service to the families of Northwest Oklahoma."

Loges has been involved in the funeral service industry since 1971, when he started as a part-time worker at a funeral home in Alva while attending college.

From Alva he eventually moved on to work at Shaw Funeral Home in Vici, where he worked for 20 years.

"Then I managed Good Samaritan from 2000 to 2008," he said.

He has spent the last 4 years of his career at Billings Funeral Home.

"It's been an honor to serve the families of Northwest Oklahoma," Loges told The News during a brief retirement ceremony held in his honor at Billings Funeral Home on Friday.

While his career began as a part-time job during college, Loges said "death has always interested me, the mystery aspect of it and the spiritual aspect of it, because for Christians we believe we go on to see God."

In fact, he told The News that he continued in the funeral service field, because "the longer I worked in the field, the more I felt God calling me to this as my profession."

He said he has found funeral work to be a way for him to minister and be of service to his fellow man.

"I feel it's a real honor to walk with families in their time of loss," Loges said.  "Because you've not only helped care for their deceased loved ones, but you've helped care for the families as well by helping them get through a difficult time."

Just as with his other career decisions, Loges said he felt God's guidance telling him it was now time to retire.

"I prayed about it and felt God was telling me it was time to move on to new ventures and new opportunities," he said.

That includes moving to a new state as well.  Now that he has retired, Loges and his wife Barbara, who is a retired Woodward school teacher, have decided to move to Colorado Springs, Colo. where 3 of their 4 children live, along with "a bunch of grandkids," who they hope to spend more time with.

And while he may be retiring, Loges said he plans "to continue to be of service to mankind."

However, now his service will be through volunteer work with the Church of the Nazarene.  He said that after settling into a new home in Colorado he plans to get involved with various church ministries, such as hospital visitation programs, where he would go visit with patients who might not have anyone else to visit them.

"In the meantime, I might also do a little trout fishing," Loges said.

In addition to the certificate from the mayor, Loges also received a couple of other special retirement gifts on Friday.  His now former co-workers from Billings Funeral Home presented him with a stainless steel watch from Mead Jewelers which had been engraved with "Thank you for your service, 2012."  They also presented him with a wooden walking stick, which someone said he could use to fend off any bears he might encounter at his new home in Colorado.

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