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Retirement beckons for this business couple

Husband- and wife-run St. Croix Psychological Clinic -- the first such clinic when it opened in River Falls -- will close at the end of February. After 42 years in the business, Stephanie and John Hamann have mixed emotions about saying goodbye.

After operating for 42 years, St. Croix Psychological Clinic, 1561 Commerce Court, will see its last patient Feb. 28. It is with a mix of excitement and sadness that the husband- and wife-run clinic says goodbye.

John Hamann, who opened the clinic in 1971, said he will miss "...seeing things being solved and people feeling a sense of confidence to handle things."

Wife, Stephanie, who joined the clinic in 1984, will miss helping families grow to their potential.

According to Stephanie, when the clinic opened in 1971, it was the first psychological clinic in River Falls.

During the years the practice grew to include 11 psychologists, two psychiatrists and included multiple location changes - it's been at the current address for almost five years.

Along with owning and operating St. Croix Psychological Clinic, John worked at UW-River Falls as the director of counseling and guidance, treating students -- he retired from that position in 1999.

John, a psychologist, specialized in forensic psychology and worked with the court system part-time. He said he helped within the family court on divorce and family cases to help make decisions that were in the best interest of the children.

Stephanie, a psycho-therapist and mediator, said that John also worked with local companies to help with management skills.

John said: "I had a great career here. This is a great town to provide services to and has great professionals to work with. There was always something interesting going on."

Working with her husband, Stephanie has felt she was really lucky. She points out that John is very skilled and has been a great mentor to her.

John said the pair make a great team. When asked how they made both the business and personal relationship work, John pointed out that they did not mix work and home.

"We had to respect the roles of work," John said. "We did not bring the marriage into work."

He went on to say that it was important to keep those roles defined, otherwise they would have been unproductive.

Stephanie felt that their work relationship worked because they have an underlying respect for one another.

At home the two shared a variety of interests, including Arabian horses, which Stephanie shows throughout the upper Midwest and Canada. Stephanie tells the story of how John surprised her with two Arabians after she mentioned the desire to own a horse.

And in the last four years, John has taken up a new hobby -- drag racing. A proud Stephanie tells about the time John won second place -- his highest finish -- with his white 1986 mustang convertible.

John says about his new hobby, "I've always enjoyed fast cars."

Travel, visiting grandkids -- they have five -- and volunteering are just a few of the items that the Hamanns are looking forward to during retirement.

Said Stephanie about retirement: "We want to give back to the community that has given so much."

While they are sad to say goodbye, they are excited for the future.

"We haven't thought of what that (retirement) means," said Stephanie, "but we are excited to dream."

See the full story in the Feb. 21 edition of the Journal.

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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