A large portion of the Rim Country's population is retirees. A few were asked at the recent Senior Circle 9th Anniversary Picnic why they retired here.
Rosalind Schuerer and her late husband, Hans, "retired" to Payson in 1974 from Sheboygan, Wis. The couple hardly retired.
Not long after arriving here, Hans, who had been in the newspaper business as a pressman for years, went to work for the Roundup, selling advertising. The couple then bought the paper in 1975 and owned it for about four years. Rosalind managed the office and handled the payroll and other jobs.
Later, Hans worked at the Mogollon Advisor and produced the monthly Elks bulletin for years.
Rosalind worked 10 years for Dennis Christensen at Coldwell Banker after she and Hans sold the newspaper.
Hans and Rosalind were active in the Payson Senior Citizens Center. Both were instrumental in getting funds for the center to move to the old Payson post office and roller rink.
Rosalind has been involved with the Senior Circle since it organized almost four years ago, and has been the president of its board of directors for more than two years.
The couple really did plan to retire. They made an in-depth study of the best place to spend the rest of their lives.
"We drove all over," Rosalind said. "We went to Arkansas and Florida; we went to the north and to the east. Payson was the best of all the places we visited."
They bought their property here in 1972 and moved to the community in 1974.
Rosalind encourages all her fellow senior citizens to become volunteers in their retirement years.
"Don't wait until you're in a wheelchair. My favorite song says it best, ‘Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think.' I woke up the other morning with that in my head and was singing it all day," she said.
Dave Engleman retired to Payson 20 years ago this February.
"My oldest son was a seasonal forest ranger at Happy Jack. He said Payson was a nice sort of town," Engleman said.
Engleman was living in Green River, Utah when he first heard of Payson from his son.
He and his wife had built a KOA Campground in the community, and then sold it. After leaving the campground business, he applied and was hired to work at Capitol Reef National Park in south central Utah. It was from there he made the move to Payson.
Like Rosalind Schuerer, Engleman has stayed active, participating in the Payson Area Woofers Society (PAWS), which created the off-leash dog park for the town, and leading regular hikes throughout the Rim Country with the Payson Packers group.
Howard Johnson found Payson for his retirement 25 years ago, with the help of his son.
"We wanted to get out of San Diego. Now they're doing the same thing here as there (growing)," Johnson said.
After his son told him about Payson, he visited and checked out the area. He went to Prescott, Flagstaff and Sedona too, but ended up in Payson.
Arlene Keefer and her late husband came to Payson in 1986, though they bought a lot in 1981 on their first visit.
"We checked it out a few times before we decided it was the place we wanted to be," she said.
Her husband retired from the military and they were living in California, but wanted out of the rat race there, she said.
"A friend from the military told us about Payson. My husband was reluctant at first; he didn't want to live in the desert. His friend told him it wasn't the desert it was the mountains. So, we came to see."
They made the decision to retire here because of the "cleanest air in the west" and the good water, she said.