Suburban Chicago man retires after working the same job for 50 years

The president was Lyndon B. Johnson, gas was just 32-cents a gallon and the Beatles blared from record players.

It was 1966, and a wide eyed suburban Chicago man was given his first job. Well on Friday, 50 years later, FOX 32’s Kristen Nicole was there as the longest serving employee of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital said his goodbyes.

It’s a milestone you don't hear about too often anymore: 50 years at the same place, doing the same job! 

But Dan Niskanen is finally ready for a change.

There’s no telling how many people have walked the halls of northwestern lake forest hospital since the building opened in 1942. But there's one thing that cannot be disputed, no one has logged as many miles as Niskanen.

“I'm right at 11,976 steps, 4.32 miles and probably about halfway for today,” Niskanen said.

He is, and has been, the face of this place since he strolled in decades ago.

“I came here on June 6, 1966,” Niskanen said.

He was 15, and his dad was an engineer here who asked his bosses to take a chance and hire him.

“I started off at $1.07 an hour,” he said. “I thought I was making a lot of money back then!”

Money, he will tell you, has never been the reason he stayed and has never been the driver behind lots of early mornings.

In a place full of moving parts, Niskanen keeps the hospital up and running, and makes it look easy.

“You can see how cool we keep the rooms because the surgeons are all gowned up,” he said.

His attention to detail was noted by dozens of colleagues.

“He's a wonderful person, anytime we need help, he's someone you can definitely go to,” Amanda said.

Technology has been the biggest change Niskanen has seen in his time, though some things have stayed the same.

FOX 32: Not too many people use pagers anymore.

“I tell them that, but they say you're gonna wear that pager!” Niskanen said.

That humor, and those busy feet marching down the hallway, will be missed by many.

But as Niskanen says, goodbyes don't have to last forever.

“I do plan to come back as a volunteer here because this is my family away from my real family,” he said.