A career at the Winfield Packinghouse: Isabel Roseen celebrates retirement

After a 50 year career in the packinghouse, Winfield resident puts her feet up to focus on gardening, painting

Apple sorting at the Winfield Packinghouse was just one of the jobs done by Isabel Roseen.

In a 50-year career at the Winfield Packinghouse, Isabel Roseen saw a lot of changes.

But one thing that didn’t change over those years was Roseen, a fixture around the packinghouse since she first began working there in 1966.

Roseen, now 66, retired earlier this month from the Winfield Packinghouse, leaving the place that was like her second home for decades and moving on to retirement.

“There are a lot of things that have changed,” she said in an interview with the Lake Country Calendar.

“When I first started, everything was sorted by hand. Now it’s a lot more automated.

“You had to be able to accept change because every so many years they changed the machinery and you’d have to learn to do things a different way.”

Roseen has done just about everything and then some at the packinghouse.

She started out sorting cherries and then moved on to making boxes.

For 14 years, she was stamping fruit before moving into grade checking, which she did until her retirement this month.

“If my body would have held on I would have worked longer,” she said. “I was getting tired and slowing down that’s for sure.”

Roseen’s long career at the Winfield Packinghouse was a natural fit for the long-time Okanagan-raised Winfield resident. She was born in Kelowna and grew up on Glenmore Road, going to school at the old Winfield Elementary School and George Elliot high school before moving on to the workforce.

Her mother had worked at the packinghouse before having kids and Roseen’s sister also has worked there and continues to do so.

“We had a lot of different sisters and relatives working there over the years,” she said.

“There used to be a lot more local people 20-years-ago. The crews changed over the years from being local farmers to local kids and people who live in Winfield to people that were from further away.”

Still, one of the things that didn’t change was Roseen as she continued to work through the changes over the years. And it was partly that variety that kept her coming back.

“Every day something was going on, some people would have a problem….there was always something happening,” she says, noting that it’s definitely different not having to wake up and head into work.

“The routine of having to be at a certain place at a certain time…that’s different for me now. Now I get up when I want to and if I don’t want to do something

today I can do it tomorrow.”

Roseen’s retirement was celebrated by her colleagues earlier this month at a retirement party that celebrated her long career.

As for what comes next, she says she will get more into her hobby of painting and will have more time for gardening and yard work.

And of course she plans to drop by the packinghouse to catch up on things.

“They keep telling me I should sign up for cherries,” she said.

“But don’t know about that. There are other things that you can do. I’ll see how bored I get.”

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