It's been 42 years since Tom Leboe found work in the warehouse of the Pacific Western Brewing Company.
Now his friends and colleagues are raising a glass this afternoon at the brewery to celebrate his retirement.
Leboe worked his way up the ranks and in 1991 when Kazuko Komatsu bought the brewery, he was promoted to plant manager.
"There's no better job," said Leboe. "Once a brewery gets in your blood, it's hard to get it out."
Leboe was born in McBride and grew up in Loos, this side of McBride. He went to school in McBride and in Alberta. He moved back to McBride and came to Prince George to visit a friend in December 1969. One day his friend told Leboe he had a job for him.
"But I didn't want a job, I was on pogie," he laughed. "I was getting $34 every two weeks. That was all right."
The job was supposed to be a temporary position to offer relief to the regular employees who wanted to take holidays at Christmas.
"The manager told me I would be laid off in January," said Leboe, who started at the brewery on December 22, 1969. "But that never happened."
Besides retirement, next month Leboe and wife, Jean, will celebrate 33 years of marriage. Together they have seen 63 children cross their threshold, three of their own and the rest are beloved foster children.
The Leboes have one biological son, Christopher, 32, one adopted daughter Murdine,16, that they've had since she was born, and one daughter, Gabrielle Joseph, 26,t hat they raised since she was 14 months old without adopting her.
The couple still has one total-care foster child and will phase out their fostering in the next year or so, said Leboe.
"It's time to retire," he said.
The history of the brewery is a little checkered, said Leboe, with many owners in its past, but things evened out when Komatsu bought it and since then things have been running tickety-boo.
"At the brewery we have great working conditions," said Leboe. "It's like working with a big family and the average seniority is around 25 years, so that says something. And our last owner has been great. She's given the brewery stability. I've had great people to work with. I think we've come a long way and I think the brewery is a significant part of Prince George and its economy."