In honor of Hammer’s 100th anniversary and NER’s 50th anniversary, we have published Legacies, a special anniversary magazine, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of the featured stories:
Two of our longest-supported people at Northeast Residence have lived together for 44 years!
Frank moved into Northeast Residence (NER) in 1975; two years after the home opened in downtown White Bear Lake in what was previously St. Mary’s convent. At the time, Frank was approximately 8 years old. Before moving to NER, Frank had been placed in foster care shortly after birth. He has lived in a NER home for 48 years.
In 1979, Kim moved to NER from Cambridge State Hospital where she was receiving respite services. Prior to this she resided in four foster homes over a four-year period.
It was common for people with intellectual disabilities to be placed in state institutions or foster care early on before long-term group homes became part of normalization for people with intellectual disabilities.
Frank’s sister, Ruth, became his legal guardian over time and remains in his life. Yvonne, who was the supervisor in their home for many years, became Kim’s legal guardian after leaving NER. Yvonne was a big part of Kim’s life while she worked at NER and continues to be a huge support for her.
Frank and Kim have lived together for 44 years. Around 1994, NER was able to purchase a duplex in White Bear Lake for all nine of the people living in the convent to move into. This home had nine bedrooms—six bedrooms on the upper level and three on the lower level. There was space for the NER office to move into this home as well. In 2001, a home was purchased in Roseville which Frank and Kim moved into. Then, in 2016 a home was purchased in Maplewood—our Currie home—which was better suited for those with mobility concerns.
Throughout the 44 years of living in a home together, Frank and Kim participated in many activities including: vacationing at Camp Friendship and going to local beaches and parks, especially Bald Eagle Lake and White Bear Lake. During the summertime in the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s, we would drive all nine people to a park and/or beach to grill out a meal and play in the water. Frank would often sit and observe others while Kim would play in the water and sand on the beach. All the employees took great pride in making sure the people supported were given opportunities to have experiences within their community.
Over the years, as they have grown older, Frank and Kim have slowed down as many people do as they age. But the employees who have provided direct support over all the years have looked for things that Frank and Kim would enjoy participating in. Frank enjoys sitting outside in the sun people watching and the staff make sure he can do this whenever the sun is out and the temperature is tolerable. Kim enjoys manipulating sensory objects, listening to music, and people watching.
This past year Frank’s health has taken a turn and he has been hospitalized a few times. Currently, he is in hospice care within his home at Currie. The staff continue to provide as much leisure time as possible for him to enjoy, including sitting outside on warm sunny days. Slight changes have happened in the home to accommodate Frank’s and Kim’s changing needs.
As we celebrate this 50-year anniversary for NER and 100-year anniversary for Hammer it is nice to know we continue to be one BIG happy family as well as family, extended.
Editor’s Note: On the evening of July 6, 2023, Frank passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by people who cared for and loved him. He will be deeply missed.
Lin Curran is Chief of East Metro Operations. She joined Northeast Residence in 1987 doing direct support. She recently celebrated her 36th anniversary with the organization.