A well-known insurance agent has decided to bring his career to a close.

Billmark’s Lakes Area Insurance held a 30-year anniversary celebration and retirement farewell for owner Gordie Billmark Wednesday.

Billmark studied sales and finance at Alexandria Technical and Community College, graduating in 1976. He worked at Bremer Bank as a loan officer for 10 years, and then was vice president at the agency for the next five years. He started his own agency in 1989.

Retiring is a mixed blessing, he said. “I’ll absolutely miss the customer base that I had. They were more than customers. They all ended up being friends.”

While he will miss those relationships, Billmark joked that during retirement he will enjoy sleeping in.

“I’ve just been doing this forever,” he said. “I didn’t think of it as selling insurance. I thought of it as just helping people with their insurance issues.”

Billmark, who said he received lots of heartwarming emails wishing him well, enjoyed becoming somewhat of a counselor, helping people through their tough times.

His plans for retirement aren’t set yet, although he plans to leave town in the winter. “After that, we will see what the good lord has in store for us,” he said.

Linda Dolan attended the farewell. She met Billmark through the ATCC alumni association in the 1990s.

“He’s a wonderful businessperson. He’s been a good guy to know and a good supporter of the community,” she said.