Jan 9, 2013
Last winter, the Hunhoffs all gathered for a family weekend in Pierre with kids and grandkids. The little tykes splashed in the pool and raced around the capitol on a quiet Saturday afternoon when there was no one there. But we had the most fun at the South Dakota Discovery Center, a children's activity center located in an old city water plant on the west side of town, near the river.
The grandkids made sand art, constructed a wood dinosaur puzzle, spoke in a whispering dish, crawled through a tree house and had all sorts of other fun. Most of the exhibits were simple and sturdy. I wondered who made them.
Today I was reading the Pierre Capital Journal and came across the picture of a kindly fellow named Albert "Red" Zarecky. It accompanied his obituary.
Red was a retired pharmacist, age 93 when he died Jan. 5, "at his home, surrounded by family." He grew up at Flandreau, served with the Marines in the South Sea Islands during WWII and then studied pharmacy at SDSU. He ran the Corner Drug in Pierre, and later, the city's first Walgreens.
Red retired in 1976, some 37 years ago. And that was just a beginning. He started working with wood. He built two homes and remodeled his own. Then he started making toys and gifts for children, friends and neighbors. Every Christmas, he made a special gift for grandchildren. And he made handcrafted gifts of wood for every grandchild's high school graduation — keepsakes that will be passed down through the generations.
Finally, a paragraph near the end of the obituary noted that Red made many of the children's exhibits at the Discovery Center.
It's pretty amazing how one person's talents can spread to so many — even a talent developed after retirement. Thanks Red, on behalf of my grandkids. Wish I'd had the chance to meet you.