50 years of care at the Baptist Home of Kenmare
Posted 6/15/11 (Wed)
Back in the day . . . The main building of the Baptist Home was
built in 1916 as the Lakeside Hospital. The name was changed
to Deaconess Hospital in 1922. The building was purchased,
remodeled and reopened as the Baptist Home in 1961.
Editor’s Note: The following history of the first 50 years of the Baptist Home of Kenmare was compiled from a variety of staff reports and stories published in The Kenmare News.
In April 1960, a representative of the Northwest Baptist Home Society in Minneapolis was in Kenmare to organize arrangements to remodel the former Deaconess Hospital, built in 1916, into a Home for the Aged and Infirm. The building had been vacant for several months at that point, after the opening of the new hospital. With Dan and Ruth Breding as administrators, remodeling work began.
The Home opened March 6, 1961, licensed for 45 residents and welcoming 13, including T.E. Skaar of Parshall, Walter Ramsey and Laura Riebe of Minot, Fred Bruce and Ole Syverson of Mohall, John Westberg and Anna Christianson of Bowbells, Mr. and Mrs. Ole Rud of New Town, and Mrs. A.H. Jacobson, Mrs. Steve O’Fallon, Mrs. Karen Anderson and Mrs. Eliza Krenelka of Kenmare.
Staff members included the Bredings, Lil DeVore and Mrs. Olaf Anderson as cooks, Mrs. Darrel Kinsman, Irene Lewis and Linda Carstens for the floors, Mrs. Ed Rodin as dining room supervisor and Harris Eymann as engineer.
The old nurses’ residence was purchased in 1966 and annexed on to the Baptist Home, and the front porch was added in 1969. The Bredings served as administrators until their retirement in 1974.
Mrs. Francis J. Larson of Powers Lake became the administrator and served until retiring in 1993. She oversaw an entire remodeling and renovation project. During that time, the Baptist Home increased its license to 60 residents.
Steve Drobot arrived with his wife Ann from Pennsylvania to step into the administrator’s role in 1993. In the spring of 1994, contractors started construction of the 14-unit Assisted Living Wing, which was finished in May 1995. The efficiency apartments offered dining, housekeeping and laundry services with social activities and 24-hour attendants available. The lot for the addition was provided through a generous donation to the facility.
Total cost for the addition was estimated at $415,000, with community donations of $70,000 committed to the project.
Drobot left Kenmare in 1996 for a position with American Baptist Homes of the Midwest in Omaha, NE. Mr. Gayle Klopp of Minneapolis served as the administrator until February 1997.
Mary Dollarschell Stroud became the administrator in May 1997 and oversaw the development of the new 12-bed Alzheimer’s patient care unit which opened in May 1998. The new unit was a pilot project for the stat of North Dakota to care for residents with dementia.
Stroud left Kenmare for Omaha in January 1999 and was replaced as administrator by Paulette Mattern, a Kenmare native and 12-year Baptist Home employee. She worked in the position until November 2000. Steve Lawson served as the administrator from January 2001 to July 2001.
Current administrator Karen Schwartz stepped into that role in September 2001.
Baptist Home residents were thrilled to receive their first bus in February 2001, used for sightseeing and shopping trips around the Kenmare area. Since that time, the bus “fleet” has been upgraded through generous donations and gifts, and residents have had the opportunities to take longer trips, including a memorable overnight stay at Medora in July 2010.
February 2006 saw a change in the Special Care Alzheimer’s Unit, when five of the 12 rooms were designated for basic care residents. The Special Care Unit has since been closed and the remaining space on the Third Floor remodeled into an activity area available to residents and the public alike.
The Baptist Home of Kenmare will celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 16, 2011, with a public program, presentation and supper at the Kenmare Memorial Hall. The facility is currently home to 26 residents for assisted living and basic care services, and employs 26 staff members. An extensive variety of activities are offered on a daily, weekly and monthly basis through the efforts of the staff, the Baptist Home Auxiliary, and several volunteers from community and region.