What to Write on a Retirement Plaque?


Celebrating someone's retirement is generally cause for celebration and gifts of congratulations. Often, there will be some sort of company-sponsored event, family party or a combination of the two. Plaques of recognition are often gifted to the retiree from the company, co-workers, family or friends. The wording on the retirement plaque will vary depending on who is giving the plaque and their relationship with the retiree.

From the Company

Plaques from the company to commemorate the retirement of a valued employee are common and often appreciated. They range from a basic plaque to one depicting the particular job the retiree did for the company. The plaque should always state the company's name, retiree's name, the number of years of employment within the company, along with the official retirement date.

The plaque should state "Presented to," "In Appreciation of," "Awarded to" or "In recognition of," then state the name. For example: "With gratitude to John J. Smith for 25 years of loyal service to The Worker's Company (Month Date, Year)." Other phrases of appreciation could include "For outstanding diligence," "For dedicated service," "For loyal service," "For service rendered" or similar terms of recognition.

Certain careers, such as policemen, firemen, servicemen or teachers may have more specific phrases. For example, a policeman may receive the following plaque:

"Presented to Deputy John Smith for 30 years of dedicated service to the Hometown County Sheriff's Department and the people of Hometown County.

Presented this Date of Month, Year."

From Co-workers and Friends

Co-workers and friends may opt to purchase a plaque together for the retiree. This can include something elegant, funny or sentimental. For example, if the retiree has joked that it's time to "go fishing", a plaque that states "Johnny has Gone Fishing, Month Date, Year" may be fitting. A large ceramic plate can be given as a plaque in which the company name, years of employment of service and the date can be engraved. Then everyone can sign their own name with brief words or phrases from their heart.

For someone who became a friend, you can gift a sentimental plaque that says, "Miss Smith, Wishing you a happy retirement. As one chapter ends--another begins for you. Enjoy all of the things you've been looking forward to." "Enjoy your golden years," "We will miss you," "Your efforts have touched us all" and "Enjoy your retirement, you have earned it" are other options to use for a co-worker's retirement plaque. Add their name, date of retirement, years of employment and the company's name.


For a family member that is embarking on the journey of retirement, you can have a plaque made to let him know you are proud of his accomplishment. Something like "Congratulations and Best Wishes" or "We are all so proud of you" would be fitting. Inspirational quotes, such as "The key to retirement is to find joy in the little things," by Susan Miller, are meaningful and often contain good advice.

Something humorous may be fitting for a family member who's always joking around. Perhaps a plaque that says "The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off," as stated by Abe Lemons. Another plaque idea would be appropriate for the wife of a newly retired man, using a quote by Ella Harris stating "A retired husband is often a wife's full time job."

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