There are many stories and people that come into your life and stay with you forever. This is especially true when you care for individuals and their families. At English Rose Suites and bhome Home Care we have the good fortune of knowing and caring for so many individuals and every one of them changes us. This is especially true of Jack and Jane who came to us together four years ago.
“I remember clearly like it was yesterday, my first married couple moving in. Jack and Jane stole my heart on that day!” remembers Kathy, Team Mentor of Braemar Hills, the home Jack and Jane lived in. Our Leadership team and caregivers all spoke about how Jack wanted to help any way he could. Kathy explains “Jack loved to help fill the bird feeders, water the flowers, sweep the floors and he would always make sure Jane had everything she needed or wanted.” Jack took great pride in helping Jane, the love of his life, get settled into their new home.
“My fondest memory is the day Jack and Jane moved in. They held hands all day.” –Vicki Martini.
But nothing could compare to their pride in their children, John and Meredith. “He found tremendous joy when being with those he loved and trusted – none more than ‘Meredessh,’ as he would call her. His eyes would sparkle every time he saw her and he would greet her with ‘hey toots,’ an endearing name most of his loved ones received,” Katie Rinehimer says. Kathy continues, “the pride the two of them had for their children was obvious by the glowing smiles on both of their faces when John or Meredith walked in a room. I still see the smile on Jack’s face as Meredith walked in the room about a month ago and hear him say, ‘there’s my girl.'”
The smiles and sparkle you will frequently hear used in the same sentence as Jack’s name is an understatement. “Jack had a smile that would light up a room and a sparkle in his eyes that would glimmer when he saw you or twinkle when he was joking around. His sense of humor would keep you on your toes and he found fun in most things,” explains Katie. Jane loved to reminisce about her younger years with Kathy. In particular, the couple’s wonderful love story.
Jack and Jane’s story began on their first day of kindergarten and “were truly friends for life.” After high school, Jack joined the service and when he returned home, he began his 40 year career at 3M and he and Jane were married soon after. 3M brought Jack, Jane, John and Meredith to Kansas City for 17 years before they moved home to Edina. Jack was the first salesman for Medical Products and ended his career as the Executive Sale Director where he was a mentor to many. “He loved to ‘talk shop’ and when he did he held court and wanted to make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to and on point. If Jack perceived [a caregiver] as doing something wrong I would tell him ‘it’s okay, I’ll just send them over to work at General Mills and he would laugh,” remembers Katie.
Jane and Jack loved going on long bicycle rides with a group and spending time on Lake Minnetonka (Jane frequently had to make Jack get off the lake and head home).
Ben’s, Maintenance Superintendent, favorite memory is the smile on Jack’s face when he drove the boat on a Resident outing.
Jane passed away in November of 2011. “She was spunky, full of life, and always took pride in caring for her husband. Caregivers gave Jane a lot of one-on-one attention and loved her dearly so she would not have to feel like the caregiver. Jane was a beautiful woman with a humorous side, that’s for sure,” remembers Tiffany.
Jack continued to light up our lives at Braemar Hills. “Jack had the best facial expressions. His most famous one, of course, was his smile…We often liked to look at each other and just talk through our facial expressions…which usually ended in laughter,” Stephanie, RN laughs, “he was a wonderful hand holder. I so enjoyed holding his hand as we walked around the Braemar Hills home talking about what to do and what we wanted to snack on next.”
“He was my buddy and always willing to join me on any adventure I could think of.” – Katie Rinehimer
Jack passed away earlier this month on February 4th, 2016.
Stephanie shares, “On one of Jack’s final days, he was laying in bed but still slightly restless, looking for something to do. While I was helping him get situated, with Meredith at his bedside, he looked over to the side and said clear as day, ‘Jane’s here…’ I asked Jack how Jane was doing, and with those great facial expressions he smiled from ear to ear and replied, ‘She’s good,’ with both of his thumbs up. What a wonderful and peaceful feeling to know that even on his final days, he was still with his kindergarten sweetheart, Jane.”
We want to thank our wonderful caregivers for the love and care they brought to Jack and Jane’s lives and the rest of our Residents every single day. But we especially want to thank Meredith, for sharing her beautiful family with us at English Rose Suites.