The Last 'Water Dog'

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana

1/24/2014 5:25:00 PM
The last 'Water Dog'

Rudy Abbott is getting ready to retire from the New Castle Water Works after working there 35 years. (Sara Geer / C-T photo)
Rudy Abbott is getting ready to retire from the New Castle Water Works after working there 35 years. (Sara Geer / C-T photo)
By SARA GEER
Staff writer

From machine maintenance to mowing grass, Rudy Abbott has worked on everything at the New Castle Water Works plant.

As the last "Water Dog," Abbott is retiring in February and will be missed. The nickname "Water Dog" recognizes him as a veteran worker, Melvin Watson, water superintendent, said.

"I don't know how the nickname came to be, but we've called the older generation that. Not much of them today," Watson, said. "He has big shoes to fill. I barely had to ask him to do anything that he didn't already know."

Abbott started working at the plant on April 17, 1978, as a part-time employee. He moved up to work as a full-time laborer a year later. He said he's seen the city go through good times and bad times, but never left the water department. He retires as a maintenance operator.

"I had times where I could have switched to a different department," Abbott said. "I enjoyed the laborer job. I liked the work."

The challenge in the job has been cement work, he said. He first had to learn the skill before training others on the job.

"I am a master at fixing up a lawn mower. I would even help people on my breaks or lunch to get the mower to work," Abbott said. "I just had a hard time mastering cement work. It was challenging."

Abbott chose Feb. 14 as his last day to work since the day also celebrates his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Rebecca. Rebecca often would bring hot lunch for the staff. "She will also be very missed," Watson said.

Abbott said retirement is going to be hard for him to adjust since the New Castle Water Works plant was his family for 35 years.

"He'll probably come by to work part-time," Watson said jokingly.

"I'll just rest and enjoy my time at home," Abbott said.

Sara Geer is a staff writer for The Courier-Times. Follow her on Twitter@s_kovach.