Apr 19, 2013 10:52 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- Libraries tend to be a place of peace and quiet.
But on the fourth floor of the Pima County Library downtown there is one man who doesn't stop talking.
Harry Loumeau is 81-years-old, born in the same decade as "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
Like all the classic novels, Loumeau is known for his character. "He greets everyone with a smile and he has a lot of jokes," says Patti O'Brien, one of Loumeau's co-workers.
Loumeau is originally from New York City. He started working as a library page in 1997. He works about 10 hours a week, sorting through the books before they get distributed to the library branches. "Of the various jobs I've had over the years, I can honestly say the finest people I have ever worked with have been right here at the library," Loumeau says.
That says a lot, since Loumeau has held several jobs through the years.
He served in the Korean War, taught college-level English and drama. He's also a current Veteran for Peace and a member of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club since 1998. "In 2006 I climbed by 300th peak," Loumeau says.
He even once considered priesthood. "But then when I realized I'd have to give up celibacy, I thought, that's not a good trade off."
All jokes aside, after living through eight decades, he credits his character to one simple realization. "There are a lot of people who could use help," Loumeau says.
So he always tries to provide that help, whether it's with a greeting or a smile. It's something that has earned him the respect of his co-workers. "I think they kinda see him as a fatherly figure or grandfatherly figure," says Co-Worker Ann Dickinson.
"Everybody knows Harry," says Co-Worker Diane Ward.
It's an attitude that has made Loumeau's 81 years all the better. "If you're going to be out in the world, enjoy yourself and share that enjoyment with others," Loumeau says. "I think that when you're nice to people it comes back tenfold."