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Lessons on the value of work from 92-year-old West Seattleite

Gregor Terjung was born in 1930 but still spends his days working — creating countless handcrafted wooden toys, garden decorations, and cutting boards. #k5evening

SEATTLE — Gregor Terjung’s hands have been around for a long time.

Longer than high-speed photography, canned beer, or the ballpoint pen.

They've been on this earth since 1930. And they're still creating.

"I can do stuff with my hands, and mentally it helps me," he said.

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Terjung is the kind of man who likes to stay busy. For half a century, he did just that by running a gift store in West Seattle.

In 2018, at age 88, he finally decided it was time to retire.

But what does a man like Gregor do when his work is done?

"I thought, 'Okay how am I going to keep him busy?'” said his daughter Gail Spores. “But obviously, as you can see, he's been busy!"

In the shop behind his house — built with his own two hands years ago — he's turned a hobby into a lifestyle: prolific woodworking.

He makes whirley-gigs, birdhouses, small toys, whimsical garden decorations, and sleek cutting boards. If it involves wood, Terjung wants to build it.

“Tools are an obsession with me. I've got to have tools,” he said. "If I don't have it and I see it and I like it, I've got to get it, you know. I mean, why not?"

He shuffles between three large work tables, cutting, sanding, shaping, and painting his creations.

"This is his man cave and he loves it out here,” said his son-in-law Beldon Spores.

Terjung sells some pieces — enough to buy more supplies. But mostly, he gives.

"I love to give away,” he said, chuckling.

He also loves that after all these years, he's still a student.

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"I still learn, I can still learn. It's not that I know everything,” Terjung said. “I think maybe I do, but I don't."

Wisdom, in its truest form. It’s why Terjung continues working, not for profit or for promotion. Just, for joy.

"There's so much sadness around and stuff, and I hate that,” he said. “So this makes me happy. I think I'm going to try until I'm no longer."

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