Jan DeBack has made a lot of memories at the Le Roy Village Green, many of which she shared with residents and coworkers at an ice cream social Jan. 18 to celebrate her retirement.
DeBack was the first activities director hired when the facility opened in June 1979.
“I was in here in May setting up the departments,” DeBack said on her last day.
Her retirement became official on Jan. 31.
She said it was time to step back.
“My mom is 92 and my husband is disabled, and we would like to do some things together while we still can,” said DeBack, who turned 66 in January. “The first thing I’m going to do is clean house – something I’ve neglected for more than 30 years.”
Some of the most enjoyable things she will remember are writing poetry with the residents, working on specific programs and writing music.
“I have met more than 4,000 residents during my 40 years here,” DeBack said. “It’s hard when you lose someone and it was getting harder.”
Saying goodbye to the residents was emotional, De Back said.
Administrator John Bartholomew thanked DeBack for her 40 years of service and for having run a wonderful activities program. She is also credited with starting a pet therapy program 20 years ago.
Brenda Houck has worked with DeBack as assistant activities director since 2013. Houck started in 2007 as an intern and was hired in 2008.
“Working side by side with Jan for the past 10 years, she became a great teacher, mentor and friend,” Houck said. "She has taught me a lot about this career and made it a joyful experience. I could not have asked for a better teacher, and she will be missed.”
Houck continues as acting activities director and has submitted her resume to assume the permanent position. No decision has been made yet, she said.
Top photo: John Bartholomew thanks Jan DeBack for 40 years of dedicated service at Le Roy Village Green Nursing Facility during her retirement party.
Jan DeBack, left, shares memories with Pat Green and Dottie Kurtz, residents of the Le Roy Village Green. DeBack just retired after 40 years as activities director.
Jan DeBack, activities director at the Le Roy Village Green for the last 40 years, said goodbye to all the residents at her retirement party. Here, she chats with Grace Cycon.