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Marian's Story

Finally, we realized the absolutely best place for her was in Memory Care and WE ALL THRIVED THERE! -Deb Koch

Marian's journey...Marian Rooker Bailey graduated from Memphis Tech High School in 1942. In her year book, her philosophy written in her year book: "lending a helping hand will make it harder for you to borrow trouble." Her ambition was "becoming a good nurse". 


Marian was born October 12, 1924 in Cozad to Lloyd and Regina Janssen Rooker. Her dad was a railroad telegrapher which took him to Omaha, St. Louis and Memphis where her two sisters were born. A memory from Memphis was breaking her arm at the age of 12. She put a wagon up to a tree to rescue a cat and fell. More memories were of riding the train to Gothenburg to visit her grandparents and her Hecox cousins in Cozad.


While Marian was living at Stone Hearth she and her daughter, Deb visited the Franzen building which used to house the Janssen Hardware Store. They checked out the open-sided, hand-operated elevator which still worked! Marian's Uncle Rich Janssen owned the hardware store and her Uncle Otto Janssen had the mortuary above the building. She loved to "play store" and sort and weigh nails in the bins.


After graduation Marian entered the nursing program at Baptist School of Nursing. She said she went 3 years straight with only a 2 week vacation. Marian said their curfew was 9:00 P.M. "A little too early" was her comment. Marian joined the U.S. Cadet Nurses Corp. 



The women who joined received government scholarships, in return for pledging to work for a military nursing service or Veterans Hospital. In 1946, while working at a VA hospital, she met Jim Black, they married and had two children: Sherri and Deb. Marian later married Sherm Bailey. They had two daughters Phila and Karla. In 1958 the family moved to Gothenburg where Marian worked as a private duty nurse until going to work at the old hospital in 1960. In 1973 Dr. Hidebrink hounded Marian to take the "Director of Nursing" position, which took Marian 7 months to accept. Upon retirement, comments were made that it would take 10 people to fill the jobs Marian did while in that position. 


Marian sang in the Gothenburg choir as well as for funerals. She exercised to Jack Lalanne on TV and was known to watch General Hospital. Marian organized the local mobile blood drives. She cooked all her meals from scratch and never cared to eat out. 


Marian was proud to wear her white nursing uniform until retirement. She would wash and starch her nursing cap and then stick it in the refrigerator to dry. She also did this to recycle baggies. Marian sewed, crocheted, and knitted many of the clothes for her and her four daughters. She also ironed "everything"! Marian would get vaccines for the girls and give them their shots while they were in the bathtub. She also gave them cod liver oil (a lot). Most important, Marian loved the Lord. She could recite many Bible verses from memory. 



Deb's Story about her mom... Our experience at Stone Hearth was absolutely amazing. Navigating dementia is difficult at best, but SH helped us work through it and understand the changes in Mom's and our lives. Through the Lunch & Learns, we were introduced to books and videos, and had discussions about the disease and what we would be experiencing. The biggest lessons came from observing how employees interacted with Mom on a daily basis. 


A funny/sad memory: Mom was "hiding/losing" things in the early stages of her dementia. I would find notes on her kitchen table addressed to the staff: "To Sticky Fingers: I worked hard all my life to earn money to buy my things..." She even quoted Scripture for further emphasis! The funniest was when I found an empty box by her chair with this note: "Sticky Fingers: Please return whatever was in this box." Apparently, she had misplaced/hidden the small calculator that went in it.


Mom had special needs even when she was still in independent living. Passing her meds, disconnecting her stove (a whole other story!) and doing "care checks" began when it became apparent she needed extra help. Mom was able to do many things still for herself until she fell and needed medical attention. Of course, this trauma exacerbated her dementia to the point where she needed Memory Care in North Platte rehab. This was devastating on two counts: First, WE weren't prepared for that classification (even though it was becoming so apparent) nor were we prepared for what seemed to us as 'indifferent' care. We were so accustomed to SH's personal care and love, and it just wasn't there. When Mom was able to come back 'home', it could no longer be to independent living, yet we still weren't mentally ready for "Memory Care". Stone Hearth graciously let us 'try' a 1st floor apartment, but it was too much for Mom. This became a matter of our pride not what was best for Mom. Once she was in Memory Care, we tried to continue some activities outside of Memory Care, but, that too, became apparent that it was causing Mom angst. FINALLY, we realized the absolutely best place for her was in Memory Care and WE ALL THRIVED THERE!


When it came to holidays and special family occasions our expectations were exceeded. Stone Hearth was Mom's home and we were treated like family. We made great memories and lasting friendships over the years. We were also able to have the funeral reception at Stone Hearth with homemade pie. The pies and fellowship were a perfect way to celebrate the HOME-going of our precious little Mama -AT HER HOME with ALL of her family!




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