Joan Osterhout: An Inspiration to All…for 40 Years and Counting

Residents at St. Ann’s Community don’t need calendars because when they get a visit from Joan Osterhout, they know it’s Tuesday.

Rain or snow, Joan is here every Tuesday. Even on the Fourth of July, the toughest day to get volunteers to come in, Joan was here visiting because, like any other week, it was Tuesday. When asked why she keeps coming back, Joan replied, “It’s meeting the people, making a relationship with them. You almost feel like part of their family.”

Joan spends her day visiting residents, brightening up their day with her contagious smile and lively conversation. She writes cards for blind residents, reads to people, and lends an ear to many of our residents whose family cannot visit as often as they’d like.

She first started volunteering in 1977.

A friend in her prayer group would always tell fascinating stories about the remarkable people living with her parents on the 7th floor of St. Ann’s Home. Joan said, “Sounds like fun, can I come?” And she has been here ever since.

Her dedication to St. Ann’s is inspiring. Barb Joyce, Manager of Volunteer Services, said, “She is a bowl of sunshine. We need more people like Joan.”

Joan has always led an active life. She ran a paper route with her husband for 21 years, getting up at 2:00 am each morning to deliver her neighbors the newspaper. At 85 years old, she is still very active, exercising three days a week with Silver Sneakers and attending church services daily. Her advice: “If you are bored, go visit a nursing home. There is always something to do.”

With 40 years of experience, she is our longest serving volunteer, and St. Ann’s would not be the same without her. When asked about her impressive service record, Joan answered, “Maybe I’ll shoot for 50!”

Leave a Comment

navigate to top