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Retirees feel 'like leaving family'

Heading for the retirement party at which they were honored for their combined 52 years of service, Good Samaritan Center nurse Pat Hill and dietary director Mary Lou Waldo, ponder the next phase in their service-filled careers.

A half century of nursing home work was honored Dec. 29 with the retirement of two ladies from the staff at the Good Samaritan Society's Blackduck facility.

Dietary director Mary Lou Waldo and nurse Pat Hill, who also worked on staff development, were recognized at a reception where their years of service were acknowledged.

Waldo began her career in 1980 as a certified nursing assistant in Kelliher when Good Samaritan operated the nursing home there, later moving to Blackduck and into full-time dietary work. She retires as director of that operation.

Hill graduated from St. Mary's Nursing School in Rochester in 1960 and after a varied career spent the last 28 years in nursing home work, beginning in Northome and for the past 13 years, at Good Samaritan in Blackduck.

The two both have roots in the area.

Waldo graduated from Kelliher High after starting school in Saum. There's a subtle hint of pride when she sais, "I'm a Ferdig -- Leo was my dad." She and her husband, Ronald, lived in North Dakota and Montana before moving back here in 1980. He works in floor covering and also at operating a farm where they raise a small herd of beef cattle.

Hill lives on the family farm between Alvwood and Dora Lake. Her career as a nurse has included jobs in Virginia and Pennsylvania and after completing nurses training, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. There she was one of the private duty nurses assigned to care for novelist Ernest Hemingway, a task she remembers with the enthusiasm that goes with a job fondly remembered.

Both women responded almost in unison when asked about the nursing home residents here:

"They're all family," each said and smiled as they realized they'd echoed the other's words.

Hill expects to continue with many of her activities. In nursing, she had long asked for emergency room duties and now she continues that interest by working as a First Responder with the service in Squaw Lake. (She was on hand for 38 of their 42 calls this year, she notes with pride). Hill also is a CPR instructor, treasurer for the Kinghurst Town Board, secretary for the Itasca County Town Board Association, organist and sacristan for St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Squaw Lake and on the Good Samaritan Society's Health Board.