Woman racks up 60 years on the job

Karen Rapp worked at F&M Bank in Tomah for 60 years

In this age, it is difficult for anyone to remain in one job their entire career, but one local woman recently celebrated her 60th year in one location.

Karen Rapp started at F&M Bank in Tomah in 1956 right out of high school, and she’s worked there ever since.

Throughout the years, she’s seen plenty of things change while on the job.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is her willingness to help her community.

Karen Rapp can tell you a lot of history about F&M Bank. It’s because for 60 years, she’s called this place her home.

“How does it feel? Like the grandmother of the institution,” Rapp said.

She started as a teller right out of high school.

“We did everything by hand,” Rapp said. “We balanced the whole bank and everything by hand, and nobody got to go home until that lady said, ‘The bank is in balance.”

Throughout all those years, she has plenty of stories to tell.

“The best one was the day the police department got a tip that the bank was going to be robbed that day,” Rapp said. “So they snuck a police in here with his rifle, and he sat in an office downstairs all day, with his rifle pointed at the lobby. I was expecting one of my kids, and they said, ‘Karen, you better stay home for the day.’ I said, ‘I ain’t staying home! How am I going to know what happened if I stay home?’ So I came. The robber didn’t come, but I did.”

Her co-workers say there isn’t anyone quite like Rapp.

“She keeps you in line, but you have fun doing it,” co-worker Leanna Rowan said.

“Fantastic co-worker. Very hard working. Always willing to help,” co-worker Pat Linenberg said.

“I recently did a study for the board of directors at the bank about how long the average person stays at a company any more, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent annual report indicated it was 4.3 years. That’s the average length of service for a company. Karen’s been here for 60? That’s just unheard of anymore,” Tom Rudey said.

While the technology has evolved quite a bit in her 60 years, Rapp’s laugh and good attitude haven’t changed one bit.

“We have a good time here,” she said. “I gave my whole life to this place.”
After 60 years on the job, Rapp retired last Friday.

Her co-workers say she will be a presence that is sorely missed.

In her retirement, Rapp hopes to have more time to volunteer for area veterans’ groups.