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Del Eilers: Back to piano

Del Eilers started piano lessons at age 10, stopped, then started again 10 years ago. Now, he works with piano teacher Brad Bergie at the senior center. (Submitted photo by Rebecca Kropelnicki)

Delos "Del" Eilers has dozens of interests and has had a colorful career. He worked for 3M as an electrical engineer for 38 years and was in the technical service department for the audio magnetic tape labs. His expertise was in troubleshooting, testing new and current products, handling complaints and working with new or potential customers.

Del recalls a customer working in Czechoslovakia who was doing the sound track for the musical "Amadeus" and was having difficulties with the audio tapes. He knew how to correct the problem, but the hard part was having the tapes shipped behind the Iron Curtain.

He has enjoyed working in the audio field on several motion picture productions, the first of which was "Mary Poppins," balancing music and dialog along with sound effects. He was delighted to sit in a recording session where Louis Armstrong, famous trumpet player, was performing with an orchestra that included 12 bass players during the taping of a song that was used in the James Bond movie, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

During his career, Del traveled about 20 percent of his time dealing with customer service. He convinced potential customers to choose magnetic tape products over the competitors' not just for the quality but for the follow-through and service they would receive. He enjoyed his working years, but also is flourishing in his retired years.

"When I hear the song 'Unforgettable' originally by Nat King Cole, redone as a duet by his daughter, Natalie, I remember how that song was recorded on 3M magnetic tape which now it is no longer being made or used in the studio," Del commented.

A natural musician, Del sang in the choir at the Woodbury United Methodist Church. At 10, he took piano lessons briefly, and then didn't take lessons again until 10 years ago. Now, he is taking piano lessons every Wednesday at the South Washington Senior Center with teacher Brad Bergie.

Del said, "I like retirement and I include lots of projects, hobbies and especially model trains. I don't take on a lot of commitments, so I can play golf whenever I want." He also travels and volunteers at church for enjoyment. "You have got to have the right balance of doing things for yourself and include helping other people," he added.

Kropelnicki is the marketing and intergenerational activities coordinator at the South Washington Senior Center in Cottage Grove.