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A caring life

News | June 11, 2019

Lots of people have lots of really wonderful words to say about Kathy Ague. We’ll get to those in a bit. But one of the best, most joyful, happiest sets of words goes a little something like this: She loved to sing and dance through the halls, or pretty much anywhere else she could, at Friendship Manor, a nonprofit continuing care retirement community in Rock Island.

“That’s what she did, sing and dance down the halls,” said Diane Bajc, director of nursing at the Rock Island care facility. “Our residents absolutely loved it.”

Kathy recently retired after nearly four decades as a nursing assistant at Friendship Manor. They held a big party for the occasion, with cake and punch and lots of stories.

Four decades is a long time of serving others. But what you will hear when others talk about Kathy, is that she’s built a lifetime of caring for and about others. “Kathy is one of those people, no matter what you asked her to do, she did it. She never complained. She is full of life. The residents really related to her.”

Kathy became a nursing assistant after her aunt and mom encouraged her. “Kathy, you are really super good with people,” they said. She worked at two other nursing homes early in her career before going to work at Friendship Manor. She took a class at Black Hawk College to become certified.

What did her work entail? Helping residents with going to appointments, dressing, bathing, and eating.

“I like helping other people,” she said. As for the dancing and singing? “I liked to keep them happy.”

That is indeed true. Her niece, Sarah Stevens, will attest to that. “One of my fondest memories of Kathy is from my childhood. She used totake care of my grandma who suffered some paralysis as a result of polio. Gram spent her days looking out her front door, waiting for Kathy to get home from work so the two could go for a drive. So, after having worked a full day taking care of residents at Friendship Manor, Kathy would come home, change clothes and wheel gram to the car. They would drive all over the Quad Cities, run to the mall, the grocery store, and maybe the occasional (frequent) trip to Whitey’s for me and my brothers.

“I am CERTAIN Kathy would have rather been relaxing at home after a long day, but in those days, Kathy’s life was a life of service to my grandma. And to her niece and nephews. And to the residents who loved the way she would dance and make them laugh. And to a God she has always followed with sincere devotion. She is today – and has always been – the most tender, kind, bright light of a human being and the world is better because she’s a part of it.”

Kathy worked the day shift at Friendship Manor, starting at either 6 or 7 a.m., depending on which area she was working in. She cherishes the people she met there – the 105-year-old resident who tried to teach her Spanish and loved green chili peppers, the woman she affectionately called Mama Mary, who always had a basket of candy in her room.

She got attached to the people she cared for. She estimates she met and spent time with hundreds (likely thousands) of residents. “When they passed away, I cried just like they were one of my family members,” Kathy said.

Kathy never imagined she would spend 39 years at Friendship Manor. Someone once told her, “you’re like one of the bricks in the building.” That comparison is not far from the truth – Friendship Manor opened in 1979.

She does appreciate the opportunity to sleep in a bit now. She visits Friendship Manor every once in a while. She likes to visit her former colleagues and residents. Her former supervisor, Diane, hinted that it might be nice if Kathy came back to volunteer. “She is a very kind soul, a very humble person.”

One comment on “A caring life”

  • Anne Budde

    June 14, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Kathy – what amazing example of love and service your life has provided! This article caused me to think more deeply about how I live my life daily.

    Anne Budde

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.