CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - He said he didn't want the job.
But eight years ago, Harry Rediger gave in and decided to run for Cape Girardeau Mayor.
"Making that final decision to run for mayor was really the best decision of my life", Rediger said on his last day in office.
"It's been almost a full-time job. And it's been exciting. But it's time to rest a little bit and step back."
Rediger deserves the rest. After a long career as a department store manager that brought him to Cape in the late 1970's, he is ready to say goodbye to his second career in public service.
"I'm very confident with Bob Fox incoming and the new council that some of our unfinished work is going to steam right ahead."
His biggest accomplishment, he said, came in his first year of office--as he became the face of the city in its bid to bring a casino downtown.
"We received the 13th casino license in the state of Missouri on December first. And it really has been a catalyst to a lot of great things for us."
It also became the basis for an April Fool's joke Rediger said he was asked to play on me...texting me that something had gone wrong..that maybe the casino wasn't coming.
"You took it upon yourself to call the Gaming Commission. And smelled it out before you got over there."
I was so mad at you! I reminded him.
"So I'm still so proud of you for doing that!"
You could find Rediger's big smile and endless energy at event after event.
But a job that brought him so much joy--became even more meaningful after the sudden loss of his beloved wife Fran during a cruise back in 2015.
"Through that brief time, I really leaned on this job and put extra effort and extra time on. And it's been such a blessing to me to continue on as the city's mayor."
The 80-year-old great-grandfather said he will take a little time now to travel and regroup.
Then starting in June, Rediger embarks on a new adventure.
He'll be leading bus tours of Cape Girardeau for groups coming in on the riverboats that dock downtown.
"And I'll really enjoy doing that. Meeting people from all over the world and showing off and being proud of my city."
Rediger said he plans to stay involved in his community, especially in the long-term effort to revitalize Cape Girardeau's south side.