EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) — Ask Larry Diekman about his years on the job and he’ll likely tell you it wasn’t work at all.

“I’ve never hated one day of coming to work —  and that’s what I’m going to miss,” explained Larry Diekman.

In every season of weather, Diekman could be seen tidying the streets around 50th and France in Edina. That was his area of responsibility as a public works employee for the city of Edina.

Whether gripping his shovel, broom or blower, Diekman always took time to talk with shopkeepers and customers.

Nearly 23 years ago, Diekman left a big job in the corporate world when his company was sold. He needed to support a family so he hired on with Edina Public Works.

“I found that little Sun newspaper and it had an ad for this job. I said I don’t care, I’m going to apply for it,” added Diekman.

That job meant watering street planters at three in the morning, or in wintertime clearing snow at all hours of the night.

“Just a fantastic guy,” exclaims streets supervisor, John Scheerer. He calls Larry a dream employee.

“We have a value system here in the city, IQS we call it. Integrity, quality and service If I were to look that up in the dictionary it would say Larry Diekman’s name behind it,” added Scheerer.

But nobody has been more dedicated. In his more than two decades on the job, Diekman never even took a single day’s vacation. And while he doesn’t want any fuss made over this week’s retirement, the word of his looming departure is getting out.

“That makes you feel so good and that you are going to be missed. It makes me proud that I guess I did do a good job over the years and people really do appreciate it, so it wasn’t for nothing,” explained Diekman.

Because for this blue-collar ambassador, what’s better than keeping a city clean and people smiling?

“The set the bar very high for whoever is going to follow in his shoes, there’s no doubt about it,” said supervisor Scheerer.

Diekman’s final day on the job is Wednesday but he says he won’t be officially retired until Friday. However, if the area gets snow as predicted, he will drop everything to clear the sidewalks for the area’s shops and restaurants.

Bill Hudson