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Designer takes up drawing cartoons in retirement as well as playing music

Dennis Pollmann designed food-service facilities for decades before becoming a cartoonist


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - SHARING HIS TALENT - Dennis Pollmann, shown with his wife Eva, has a portable drawing board that he carries around the house to sketch on when inspiration hits, and he will now be drawing cartoons for the Regal Courier's editorial page.Dennis Pollmann has offered to share his artist talents with Regal Courier readers by drawing monthly cartoons that focus on life in 55-plus communities, a subject that should be rich with possibilities.

"You may have noticed that the King City newsletter now contains a single-frame cartoon, P.S.: 55+," Dennis wrote the Regal Courier in late May. "Seems like my urge to be a cartoonist caught up with me and was accepted by the King City Civic Association Board of Directors. Now I am committed to provide this cartoon monthly for our newsletter.

"It is based on the events that occur in a 55-and-older community. Of course, a great deal of liberties can be taken. I am also a member of the King City Music Club with my harmonica in hand."

Dennis' career was spent as a mechanical engineer, and he started his career back in the day when pencil and paper were the only design tools needed, with his artistic talent first nurtured in high school by "one of the best art teachers who challenged everyone."

Dennis was born in Nebraska, where his great-grandfather first homesteaded after emigrating from Germany, but when Dennis was young, his parents moved to Wheat Ridge, Colo., outside Denver, where he started school. However, Dennis ended up graduating from high school in Miami, where his parents moved before he started his junior year in high school.

"I was always interested in art," Dennis said. "My sweet mother wanted me to be a minister, and I started college at Stetson University, but I wanted to get into art and took art classes. I did an editorial cartoon for the weekly paper, but around that time I found out I had male color-blindness, so I couldn't be an artist."

Tired of living in Florida, Dennis drove back to Wheat Ridge, and two months later met his future wife Eva.

"She was from Washington, D.C., and her dad was the first coach of the Denver Broncos," said Dennis, who was drafted into the Army for two years but remained stateside.

"When I got back to Denver, I got a job drafting department store layouts and then got into commercial food-service layouts," said Dennis, who completed his degree in mechanical engineering while there. "When our son was 13 months old, and Eva's parents were living in D.C., we moved there, and I got a job for 10 years with corporate division at the Macke Co., which covered 27 states designing and operating food-service facilities for colleges, hospitals and other commercial places.

"One job required being able to feed 3,000 people in 90 minutes."

Next E.I. DuPont hired the Macke Co. and Dennis as project manager to remodel their plant kitchens. "I had to learn about Southern cooking," he said. "They had carts that ran along electric strips in the floors."

After 10 more years, the Pollmans were ready to make another move. Dennis wanted to open his own business, which was impossible in D.C. They had spent their summers in Ocean City, Md., so Eva wanted to live close to an ocean.

Looking at the three states along the West Coast, they chose Oregon more than 30 years ago. They settled in Lake Oswego and first opened Dennis Designs, with Dennis working with architects to design the food-service portion of their projects.

He also worked for Tiffany Food Services as a consultant for 28 years, doing designs for food-service facilities in Intel, Tuality and Providence hospitals, and 30 to 40 retirement homes. In fact, Dennis had to go to Portland Community College to learn the Computer-Aided Design or CAD system as the pencil-and-paper method had gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Along the way, Eva, who had an engineering background, kept the books and helped Dennis with the specifications.

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - FULL OF IDEAS - Dennis Pollmann likes the convenience of using a portable drawing board, and he also carries around a small notepad to jot down ideas for future cartoons.The couple moved to King City after Eva's mom moved into Pacific Pointe Retirement Inn, and a question begs to be asked: Did Dennis remodel their kitchen? "We put in granite countertops," he said.

Since retiring, the couple has more time for their grandson and granddaughter, and Dennis is finally able to spend more time on his "fun" artwork.

Actually, in 1985, he started drawing cartoons about a retirement community under the name "Sunnyside" but didn't have a lot of time to devote to it while he was working.

So a few months ago, "I made some samples and took them to the KCCA Board of Directors, and they agreed so fast," Dennis said. "I carry a small notepad around to jot down ideas for cartoons."

And if you look closely, you will see two cords around his neck, which are for the harmonica and Jew's harp that are always with him in case he wants to bust out with a song.