For someone who once thought state lawmakers should dictate the actions of townships, Pat Invie of the Ada Pine Beach Resort has come a long way since moving to Ponto Lake Township in 1972.
Invie, her husband, LeRoy, and family once lived in Crystal, far away from quiet resort life. Invie worked for the Robbinsdale School District in food services and had no idea what small-town government was like.
Over time her family began to make regular weekend trips to northern Minnesota where they would relax. Over time, these trips convinced Invie and her husband that they wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle of city school work and city construction.
“We decided we would rather live here and not be on the road every weekend. The kids liked it,” Invie said. “Our oldest daughter was a senior. We said, ‘We’ll stay in the Cities until you graduate,’ and she said, ‘I think it would be fun to go to a small school.’”
The Invie family purchased the Ada Pine Beach Resort and made the move in 1972. She continued school work with the Backus School in 1975 as secretary, and eventually was elected as treasurer for the Ponto Lake Township board in 1980.
Invie climbed the ladder in the Backus School to become executive secretary until the merger with Pine River. She stayed with the school though her title changed.
“When I didn’t go down to Pine River they asked, ‘Do you have any problems with your title being changed?’ I said, ‘No, leave my salary alone and you can put any title on that job that you want.’ Titles didn’t mean a lot to me,” Invie said.
Invie retired from the school in 2000, but her retirement from her position with the Ponto Lake Township Board only happened recently, on Oct. 27.
Invie said that the 33 years that she spent with the township board changed her view of small-town politics.
“It was a learning experience for me. I had never worked for a governmental unit of any size before. I kind of had the idea when I moved up here that it was OK if all decisions for us were made down at the capitol. How wrong that was. They don’t know what your everyday life is, what your roads are like, what people expect. It didn’t take me long after being up here a couple years to see how wrong I was with my ideas when I lived in the Cities,” Invie said.
As treasurer of Ponto Lake Township, Invie handled payroll for board members and payments for road repair; she maintained a fire contract to protect local citizens, managed the Ponto Lake Cemetery and the basic operating costs associated with any government unit. However, in the township board she also saw a lot more cooperation than she may have seen in a bigger community.
“I think after you are on there a short time you become friends and know each other’s families. You know what’s going on health wise or education wise,” Invie said. “Nobody was out to really impress the other board members and say, ‘I’m better because I’m doing such and such.’ We came there and we respected each other.”
Her decision to retire from the board came as a result of a few issues. Between family injury and health problems, work at the resort and her duties with the town board, Invie began to feel overwhelmed.
“I was spread too thin. I couldn’t do any of the other jobs as thoroughly as I wanted to. Something had to give, and that was it,” Invie said.
Furthermore, increased dependence on computers also influenced her decision.
“With the town board, when I started with them, all records, financial records, minutes, everything was hand written or they used an adding machine. Nothing was computerized at that time,” Invie said. “Over the years that’s made a 100 percent turnaround. Everything is computerized.”
The board celebrated Invie’s 33 years with a retirement party on Oct. 27.
Though she has retired from both the town board and the local school district, Invie still has plenty on her plate with the resort. During the resort season Invie estimates that they get approximately 35-100 resorters in their seven cabins.
“We have some large families. We have one family in particular and they have eight children,” Invie said.
Invie handles the reservations, banking and advertising. Her husband used to do all of the maintenance, though her son, Eugene, does around 80 percent of the maintenance now.
Invie is living proof that even though you may be retired, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are done working.