The state’s first registered apprentice deals with the disease at 90 years old. – The first registered apprentice in the state of Minnesota was recently honored in celebration of his 90th birthday. As reported by Workday Minnesota, Bill Stille, a building trades retiree, who became the state’s first apprentice 70 years ago, has held a long career in the sheet metal industry, however, he now faces mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure prior to stricter safety regulations in the workplace. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

As noted in the report, Stille began his career in 1939 following enrollment in the Minneapolis based Dunwoody Institute for air conditioning. He eventually became vice president of Sheet Metal Local 34 after also serving time in World War II. Stille is quoted in the report as advising new apprentices, “Don’t just ride along. Try to learn all you can and do your best.”

Stille has been married for 65 years, and has 6 children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.