As people began crowding into the American Legion Post 62 on Tuesday afternoon, it seemed, at first, like any other gathering.
More than 60 people clustered around, chatting, laughing and eating.
And then they stopped, abruptly, to cheer for a man who has spent more than 30 years of his life serving education in Moffat County.
Pete Bergmann, the Moffat County School District superintendent, could barely make it a foot without being stopped by a friend or colleague at an open house to recognize his years of service.
Many people in the room had something fond to say about his tenure as the school district's lead administrator.
Joel Sheridan has known Bergmann for 18 years.
He said Bergmann was a highly respected teacher, and he brought a "straight out of the classroom" feel to his administrative duties at Moffat County High School early in his career.
"Pete was the perfect liaison between the staff and the administration," Sheridan said. "He's a highly respected teacher, so we had a lot of that transfer into the administrative team."
Jo Ann Baxter, Moffat County School Board member, echoed those sentiments.
"I think one of the reasons Pete was able to get along so well was because of his enthusiasm and creativity and because (the staff) knew he was trying to do what's best for kids," Baxter said.
The School Board is sad to see him go, Baxter said.
"We hate to see him go, but recognize when there's a need to take a break," she said.
However, Tuesday was not a somber day.
Presents with jokes about retirement filled a table, and people were lined up to sign a wall of memories for Bergmann.
Janele Husband joined several others in sending up the man she worked with for many years.
Husband, who has known Bergmann for more than 24 years and worked under him while he was principal of Ridgeview Elementary School and again as the district reading mentor, gave him a special pair of shoes.
Posturepedic shoes, that is. All the better, Husband said, for him to "walk into retirement" with.
"It's like he has worked so hard for so long that I thought he needed them," she said.
Bergmann's last day is June 30.
He said the reality of retirement hasn't set in yet because there is work that still needs to be done.
"In the school business, the end of the year is always the busiest," Bergmann said.
"There's always work to do. The budget needs to be finalized - building projects - there's still a lot going on."
However, when it's all said and done, when the sun has set on his career, he's only got one thing planned.
"No plans following retirement, other than doing nothing for six months," Bergmann said.
Bergmann recalled another superintendent who retired a few years ago who summed up retirement best.
"He said coming out of the fast lane into the slow lane was difficult at first, but you know, it's like I'm 18 again," he said. "I can do whatever I want. :
"I've got a lot of opportunities."
Hans Hallgren can be reached at 875-1792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.