Gathering around the table
Retired guys come from many backgrounds but have much in common
when sharing their enjoyment of playing pool
By Ed DuBois
A group of friends who play pool each day at the Buffalo Community Center are all old enough to remember when just about every town had a pool hall. Maybe they like reliving those days, but a more likely reason they keep showing up is because they like each other's company.
Del Jensen, who is 100 years old, has been coming to play pool about 5 years. He has been playing pool since he was 18.
He likes to stay active. He often plays a round of golf before coming to the community center to play pool.
Del came to Buffalo from Crystal. He said he owned a machine shop in Minneapolis from about 1962 to 1982.
He had served in the Army until the end of World War II. He then worked in the mechanical division at General Mills about 20 years. When the division was closed, he started his own business.
Good way to pass the time
"I didn't know anyone when I came to Buffalo. I came here (to the community center) for amusement. It's a good way to pass the time," Del said.
Usually, about seven or eight guys show up to play pool.
Bob Lord, who is 82 years old, came to Buffalo from Waseca in 2010. He said his folks had lived above a pool hall for a while many years ago. He was the owner of a beauty salon 47 years before retiring.
Jim Bunich, 74, has been coming to play pool about 10 years. He was a heavy equipment mechanic before he retired from that occupation. Lately, he has been working part-time as a stocker at the Menard's store. He comes and plays pool about two or three times a week.
"It nice to come here with the others. They are good people," he said.
Morning pool fizzled out
Frank Korbel, 89, said morning pool gatherings fizzled out, and now everyone comes in after lunch.
Jim commented, "I was with my great-grandchildren this morning. Then I went to see the chiropractor, and then I came down here."
Frank came to Buffalo in 1964. He worked at Honeywell in Golden Valley 38 years. For many years, he and his wife enjoyed fixing up about six different houses.
Archie Mjelde, 92, is in his third year playing pool at the community center. He lives in the nearby Woodmere Apartments Building.
Pointing to the other pool players, he said, "I saw them come here all the time and decided to come over."
He moved to Buffalo from the North Shore. His son lives here. Archie mentioned he worked at Reserve Mining 30 years. He was a resident of Silver Bay 50 years.
Asked about his pool game, he said, "I can hold my own with these guys."
One player passed away in June
Del and Ken Ostman, 72, are generally considered the most skilled players. Ken, who owns Ken's RV Rental in Hanover, has been coming to play pool about 10 years or more ... or about as long as Frank has been coming, Ken said.
Another longtime group member, Murl Keller, passed away last June. He was 95 years old. He was known as "kind of a jokester and a really nice guy." His obituary mentioned he loved to play pool, both at home and at the community center. Services for Murl took place at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
Enjoy pool and each other
Some of the other pool players at the community center include: Roger Fricke, 79, who has been playing about 8 years; Russ Adams, 72, who played in Monticello a while and came back to Buffalo; and Kevin Spike, 62, who has "played a couple of years off and on."
They come from many different backgrounds and occupations, but they all have the same reasons to show up consistently. They enjoy playing pool, and they enjoy each other's company.
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