Remembering Lincoln Lutheran

When Lincoln Lutheran of Racine went into receivership in December 2014 it marked the end of an era in the care of Racine’s elderly citizens. From simple beginnings in 1954 Lincoln Lutheran grew to become a major presence in the city, employing at one time 550 individuals serving more than 700 residents. Lincoln Lutheran was a pioneer and national model in senior nursing and health care. So too, the demise of the organization reflects larger national issues, particularly the financial challenge of caring for growing numbers of the elderly. Equally, it signals the changing social and religious landscape in Racine, and with it the loss of the rich network of church and volunteer support that had sustained Lincoln Lutheran from a single facility to, at its height, a network of seventeen nursing homes, apartment complexes, and communal residences.

Origins

Lincoln Lutheran of Racine began in 1954 when a group of Lutheran laymen, headed by Kenneth P. Goepfert, purchased the vacant Lincoln Isolation Hospital at 2015 Prospect Avenue. The hospital, built in the 1920s, stood idle in the years following World War II. Built to house cases of pneumonia, diphtheria, scarlet fever and tuberculosis, with childhood cases the majority of its patients, the hospital had outlived its usefulness, thanks to the introduction of new medications and vaccinations in the postwar years.

The organization owed much to the efforts of Lutheran women as well. The Lincoln Lutheran Auxiliary began in 1955 under the direction of Mrs. Ruth Holm and recruited 255 members by the end of that first year. At its peak in 1978 the Auxiliary would have a total of 1067 members. When it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005, the Auxiliary could boast of having raised $350,000 through Christmas bazaars, ice cream socials, and cookbook and greeting card sales. Gifts to Lincoln Lutheran facilities and their residents included capital improvements, furnishings and appliances, equipping the beauty salon and barbershop at Lincoln Villas, and purchasing a van for use in transporting residents.

Administration

At its origins the Lincoln Lutheran Home, as the Prospect Avenue building was known, was owned and operated by a group of 23 Racine churches. Twenty of them were Lutheran congregations; the other three were First Presbyterian Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Subsequently, a number of the facilities were established as the result of partnerships, private donations, bequeaths, loans involving the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and significant support from SC Johnson.

Scope and Size of Lincoln Lutheran

At its height, Lincoln Lutheran consisted of seventeen facilities throughout Racine:

The Lincoln Lutheran Home, 2015 Prospect Avenue. (Referred to as “The Home”.) The original facility, opened in 1954. It was expanded on four occasions – in 1960, 1962, 1965 and 1970 — greatly enlarging the facility and amenities. The Home closed in 2000 due to a declining patient census and deterioration of the building. Eighty percent of the 150 residents, located both in the original home as well as on two floors of the Domanik Drive addition, were relocated within the Lincoln Lutheran system.   The building today is known as Prospect Heights, a facility providing residential services and treatment to individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

The A-Center. 2000 Domanik Drive. This facility, built on the bluff stretching southward from the Lincoln Lutheran Home, opened in December 1965 in order to “effect a . . . spiritual-social change in attitude toward alcohol problems in our community.” By 1968 Lincoln Lutheran reported that 600 individuals had already been served through in-patient care and treatment consisting of a 28-day minimum stay. On January 1, 1970, in an effort to become financially self-sustaining, The A-Center became an independent corporation. In 1986 The A-Center’s programs were taken over by St. Mary’s Hospital. The program continued in the Domanik Drive location for another year, leasing the space from Lincoln Lutheran, which exercised its right of first refusal option and re-acquired the building. Once the A-Center vacated the premises, Lincoln Lutheran used the first two floors to house additional residents of the Lincoln Lutheran Home; the third and fourth floors housed corporate offices, including human resources, clergy, and accounting. After “The “Home” closed in 2000-2001, United Way renovated and moved into the first floor. In 2005-2006, the second floor was renovated for Adult Day Services, and Lincoln Lutheran’s Community Services administration. In May of 2016 the building was put up for auction. Valued at more than $500,000, it went on the market for $399,000 and sold at auction for $50,000.

Becker-Shoop Campus, 6101 16th Street. Built with funds from the estate of Dr. Clarendon Shoop, who in 1928 left a large estate intended for the care of aged men. The bequest had gone unused. In the 1960s Lincoln Lutheran petitioned the courts for control of this estate. On December 19, 1968, Judge Francis Wendt and the state attorney general assigned the estate, $230,000, to Lincoln Lutheran, stipulating that a home for the aged be built and in operation by 1969. The facility opened as the Shoop Memorial Home, 5837 – 16th St., in 1970.

The Rev. C.A. Becker Geriatric Treatment Center, 6101 – 16th St., was dedicated on June 13, 1975, providing skilled nursing care along with Alzheimer’s and dementia care. In 1981, the Becker Geriatric Center and Shoop Memorial Home were connected with a walkway; the name was changed to the Becker-Shoop Center. In 2012, Lincoln Lutheran began a 1.2 million dollar renovation of the facility and joined with Hospice Alliance of Kenosha to provide space at Becker for Racine’s first Hospice House. This community, offering services to those with memory and behavior issues, short-term rehab needs and end of life care, was renamed the Becker-Shoop Campus. Becker Shoop is currently operated by Marquardt Management Co. of Watertown, Wisconsin as a skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, and memory care facility.

Lincoln Village Convalescent Center, 1700 C.A. Becker Drive. Original address 1701 S. Green Bay Road. Opened in 1971, this 120-bed facility offered Medicare and Medicaid-financed skilled nursing care. Originally operated by Lincoln Lutheran under a lease arrangement, it was purchased by Lincoln Lutheran in 1973. Since the receivership it has been sold to Villa Healthcare of Skokie, Illinois and operates under the name The Villa at Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Manor Apartments, 5801 – 5813 – 16th Street. A 10 building / 120 unit subsidized apartment community, opened in 1972, offering independent living with supportive services.   In 2006 major renovations were undertaken at Lincoln Manor. Six of the 10 buildings were joined together (two–by-two). Two buildings were joined by a “connector” that included an elevator, ground level laundry rooms, family rooms and trash rooms. Kitchens were remodeled, and energy efficient appliances and air conditioners added. Lincoln Manor is now owned by Wentwood Capital and managed by its own company, Westlake Management.

Lincoln Manor South Apartments. Located in the Georgetown section, just west of Ohio St. / Meacham Road, at 3421 Southwood Drive and 5143 Biscayne Avenue.   Lincoln Lutheran purchased this apartment complex when its builder halted construction due to bankruptcy. The apartments opened on December 1, 1975 under the names Benstead House (after the Western Publishing executive and local philanthropist Horace Benstead) and Schacht House (in honor of Dr. Roland Schacht, longtime medical director of Lincoln Lutheran). The facility consisted of 63 studio or one-bedroom apartments, with a communal dining hall in Benstead House. The apartments were sold by Lincoln Lutheran in the mid-1980s and are today private residences.

Lincoln Villas, 5810 Lincoln Village Drive. A 100 unit /one bedroom apartment, subsidized senior community, with communal dining facility and other services. Built with HUD financing, and opened in 1979. At present, the facility is still under Johnson Bank receivership; an offer to purchase by another operator is pending.

The Palmeter Home, 1547 College Avenue. Built in 1905 with funds from the estate of John and Eliza Palmeter to serve as a residence for elderly ladies. A resident would turn over all her assets in return for lifetime care. By the late 1970s this model was unsustainable. The Palmeter Home appealed to Lincoln Lutheran to take it over, assuming the contractual obligations to remaining residents and renting to others on a month-to-month basis. In 1993 Lincoln Lutheran closed the facility, citing the age of the building and the desire of residents and their families for a building that offered more amenities and modern conveniences.

Lincoln Center, 3716 Douglas Avenue. This facility was purchased in 1981 with funds provided by SC Johnson and was remodeled into “a congregate living residence” for the elderly, along with office space for Lincoln Lutheran.   The administrative offices were relocated to the former A-Center building on Dominick Drive in 1989 after Lincoln Lutheran re-acquired that facility. Lincoln Lutheran sold the Douglas Avenue building in the early 2000s. The building for a time housed a transitional living facility; it is currently for sale.

Trinity Terrace. 2132 Center Street.   Originally a cooperative effort between Lincoln Lutheran, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and HUD. Holy Trinity Parish sold land adjacent to its church to Lincoln Lutheran, and HUD provided financing for construction. Trinity Terrace opened in June of 1992, offering rent-subsidized apartments.   In April 2015 Trinity Terrace was taken over by Marquardt Management Co., as a government-assisted independent living facility.

Lincoln Villas North, 3919 Ruby Avenue.   Opened in May 1983, this subsidized apartment community consists of 55 one-bedroom apartments for low-income elderly and another 20 units designed for the handicapped of any age. It was built with financial assistance from SC Johnson. Following the receivership, Lincoln Villas North is managed by Marquardt Management Co. as a government-assisted independent living.

Lincoln Lutheran Care Center, 1600 Ohio Street. Acquired by Lincoln Lutheran in October 1989 when the Westview Nursing Home went bankrupt. Operated initially under the name Racine Community Care Center, and then Lincoln Lutheran Care Center, the facility closed in 2004. Blame fell on the gap between escalating costs and Medicaid reimbursement. By 2002, the Care Center was at only about 50% capacity, and had lost $12 million, $4 million in the previous two years alone. Lincoln Lutheran sold the building at a loss; the sale price was reported at between $1.5 and $2 million against a mortgage of $4 million. The facility was converted into 84 assisted living apartments, and is known today as Home Harbor of Racine.

The Atrium, 3900 N. Main Street. Intended for “moderate income seniors,” The Atrium consists of 78 one, two, and three bedroom apartments with some shared facilities. It opened November 1, 1989. The Atrium was built on land at North Main and 3 Mile Road owned and subsequently donated to Lincoln Lutheran by SC Johnson, in return for that company taking over the former St. Mary’s Hospital on 14th Street, next to its world headquarters campus. (Lincoln Lutheran had made an offer to purchase the former hospital.) The Atrium is today managed by Marquardt Management Co. as an independent living facility. Both the Atrium as well as Bay Pointe (below) were marketed to seniors who did not meet low income requirements for government subsidies but who desired the kind of living facilities and stability provided by the Lincoln Lutheran organization.

Bay Pointe at the Atrium, 3950 N. Main St. Luxury assisted living apartments, opened in 2004, and built on property just north of the Atrium purchased from SC Johnson for $450,000. Bay Pointe was destroyed by a fire on the night of March 4, 2003 as construction neared completion. It was completely rebuilt, and opened in July 2004. A year later, Bay Pointe reached full occupancy, six months ahead of schedule. Since the receivership Bay Pointe has been operated by Marquardt Management Co. as an assisted living facility.

In addition, Lincoln Lutheran operated facilities in Kenosha and Oak Creek: the Pennoyer Home (6305 – 7th Avenue) in Kenosha and the Schmidt Memorial Home (10441 Nicholson Road) in Oak Creek.

The Pennoyer Home was acquired in 1982. It entered the Lincoln Lutheran network in much the same way as did the Palmeter Home. Lincoln Lutheran’s then-executive director Joy Moy reported in the November 1982 issue of the internal newsletter “The Linc:” “On October 1, 1982, we became owners of the gracious Pennoyer Home in Kenosha. This lovely facility was built in 1970 to be a life-care residence for the elderly. With growing medical costs and the general condition of the economy, the board of Pennoyer Home found it impossible to continue operations. Early this spring, the board approached us for help, and after a summer of negotiations, an agreement was reached. There was no sale, as no money changed hands – only a transfer of assets and liabilities, which made is possible for Lincoln Lutheran to take Pennoyer Home into its ever-growing family of facilities and services for the elderly.” Pennoyer Home was sold in 2007. It operates today as South Winds, proving assisted living and memory care services.

Lincoln Lutheran announced plans for the construction of the Schmidt Memorial Home in Oak Creek in late 1984. It opened in June 1987, built with funds designated from the estate of Roy Schmidt. Undergoing several changes of concept and numerous delays during the planning stages, the home emerged finally as a residence for 26 “well elderly.” Mr. Schmidt’s niece stipulated the use of the word “Memorial” in the name, even though it caused some confusion and a lack of clarity in advertising. Lincoln Lutheran divested itself of the Schmidt Home in 2011 when on March 16 of that year an operating license was issued to The Elizabeth Residence to operate a community-based residential facility under the name Elizabeth Residence Oak Creek.

Growth and Change

The first years of the Lincoln Lutheran Home’s existence were later described (in the 1974 Annual Report) as “beset with financial difficulties and several administrative changes.” Day to day administration of the Home and supervision of care for its residents was in the hands of a succession of Lutheran deaconesses. An era of stable administration and expansive growth was ushered in with the arrival of the Rev. Dr. Carl A. Becker in 1960. Reverend Becker served as chief executive officer until 1975 and became a nationally known expert in the field of care for the aged. He travelled and consulted widely, testifying frequently in Washington D.C. on issues surrounding Medicare and Medicaid – the latter program instituted by Congress in 1965.

Dr. Becker was succeeded in 1975 by Joy Moy, R.N. Mrs. Moy was working as the director of nursing at a facility in Madison when she met Rev. Becker, responded to an invitation to visit Lincoln Lutheran, and was offered a job as director of nursing at Lincoln Village Convalescent Center. She subsequently became the director of the Center, and in 1975 succeeded Rev. Becker as CEO of Lincoln Lutheran, a position she would hold until her retirement in 1999. Joy Moy oversaw the most sweeping expansion of Lincoln Lutheran, including the construction or acquisition of Lincoln Manor South, Lincoln Villas, Lincoln Center, Trinity Terrace, Lincoln Villas North, the Lincoln Lutheran Care Center, the Atrium, the Pennoyer Home, and the Schmidt Memorial Home. Mrs. Moy also supervised the closing of two facilities, which were no longer financially sustainable: the Palmeter House (1993) and Lincoln Manor South.

In 1980, as Lincoln Lutheran celebrated 25 years of operation, it could claim to be one of the 10 largest geriatric complexes in the nation.   It employed 550 individuals, with an annual operating budget of $7 million. Over 1300 volunteers provided services. Lincoln Lutheran counted over 700 residents in its various facilities, along with the variety of outreach services discussed below.

Joy Moy retired at the end of 1999, and was succeeded by the Reverend Daniel Risch, who served as president and CEO from May 2000 until May 2014. It fell to Rev. Risch to come to grips with a dramatically changing senior care landscape, and with it serious challenges to the stability of Lincoln Lutheran. Under Rev. Risch the original Lincoln Lutheran Home on Prospect Avenue was closed, as well as Lincoln Center on Douglas Avenue, Lincoln Lutheran Community Care Center at 16th and Ohio, the Pennoyer Home in Kenosha and Schmidt Home in Oak Creek. These were seen as necessary steps to reduce the number of nursing home beds and to focus on meeting market demands and expectations for more upscale senior housing such as Bay Pointe.

Lincoln Lutheran as a Microcosm of Racine History and Care for the Elderly

The Lincoln Lutheran Home on Prospect Avenue opened in an era before the existence of Medicare and at a time when the greatest number of people in poverty in the United States were elderly women. Moreover, the aged in the 1950s were likely to have worked a significant portion of their lives before the existence of the Social Security system.

A 1967 report on the patient census at the Lincoln Lutheran Home is a window into the demographics of the elderly population in Racine at that time.

College graduate                      3

Attended college                     6

High School graduate              7

Attended High School             15

Grade School Graduate           46

Attended Grade School           75

No Schooling                           6

 

This demographic profile would change over the years, reflected among other things in Lincoln Lutheran’s branching into building apartment complexes (the Atrium and Bay Pointe at the Atrium), aimed at a more affluent population of seniors.

Social Life

Residents and staff alike experienced a rich social life within the organization. Activities at residences throughout Lincoln Lutheran included holiday celebrations, musical entertainment, shopping trips, card parties, and even an occasional wedding between residents. The Atrium had an active Residents Council, organized in 1990 by Barbara Thompson who served as its first president. It promoted community-building activities such as monthly catered or potluck dinners, birthday parties, an in-house lending library, and cultural activities – often led by Hilda Greenquist, a woman remembered with great fondness in many circles in Racine and Kenosha. Mrs. Greenquist tapped into her connections with the Racine Theater Guild to bring performers to the Atrium, organized group excursions to UW-Parkside’s theater productions, and even gave her own slide lectures, such as “The Christmas Story in Art.”

The greatest asset to the communal spirit cultivated at Lincoln Lutheran was CEO Joy Moy. Former Lincoln Lutheran staff members and administrators recall her with affection. Sharon Guetzlaff, former office manager of The Atrium, and Jayne Steffans, former vice president for development, both referred to her as “the heart and soul of the organization.” Mrs. Moy established traditions that created strong bonds throughout the Lincoln Lutheran community. Every Christmas season she personally prepared a holiday meal for residents in the nursing homes and for about 100 residents from the independent living communities. Under Mrs. Moy’s direction, staff and administrators hosted open houses for families and residents on Christmas Eve day. Another tradition was a brunch for residents and their families on Mother’s Day.   In the words of Carolyn Seeger, the organization’s former senior vice president, “Mrs. Moy built on the core of what it meant to serve the elderly and be a part of Lincoln Lutheran.”  

Extended Services

Lincoln Lutheran offered a number of extended and outreach services, serving again as a pioneer and a national model for such programs. These included Meals-on-Wheels – begun in 1965, as the first such program in Wisconsin — as well as day care for the elderly, begun in 1970 and located initially at First Presbyterian Church, 7th and College Avenues. In 1972 Lincoln Lutheran’s extension services included 14 neighborhood centers (expanded to 17 by 1975) for the elderly, providing supportive services, recreation and leisure activities at no charge; a “Telephone Reassurance” hot line where the elderly could call round the clock for emergency care; and Home Health Services,” a program to keep people out of nursing homes. In 1975 Lincoln Lutheran began coordinating transportation services for the elderly, in partnership with the Southeastern Wisconsin Area Agency on Aging.

In 1995 the Harmony Club program joined Lincoln Lutheran, having begun as a program offered by Holy Communion Lutheran Church. It now became part of the Respite Services Program of Lincoln Lutheran. Respite Services also assumed responsibility for the Skill Bank, a program formerly offered by the Center for Community Concerns.

In 2002, Lincoln Lutheran was awarded a $675,178 HUD grant – the largest such grant awarded by HUD to date — for a new Service Coordinator program.   It enabled Lincoln Lutheran to implement a program and staff in all four of its affordable housing communities. This service helped residents obtain free or for a fee, outside services to remain independent as long as possible, enabled someone to check on them if need be and often help them through the maze of Medicaid/Medicare bills and applications. Lincoln Lutheran became the premiere low-income housing management leader in Racine, and one of its service coordinators was recognized in 2005 as the national service coordinator of the year. This program was still in operation up to the time of the receivership.

In November 2005 the HomeLinc program began operations. The non-medical, in-home service offered bathing and dressing assistance, housekeeping, laundry and many more personal tasks. It allowed older adults to safely continue to live independently in their own homes. An aspect of the program was LincMD. Dr. Bonnie Wirfs made house calls to homebound patients who were unable to make it to their regular doctor’s offices for a visit.

Emerging Challenges and Problems

By 2000, Lincoln Lutheran was facing significant challenges. Its 700 nursing home beds exceeded market demand. Expectations in senior care were changing, with people increasingly favoring apartment and assisted living arrangements over traditional nursing homes. The senior population was older and, paradoxically, healthier. When the Lincoln Lutheran Home opened in 1954 the majority of residents were in their 60s. The system was now serving a population in its 80s.

Serious financial challenges were evident as well. CEO Rev. Risch pointed out that organizations such as Lincoln Lutheran were facing the loss of millions of dollars from nursing home operations as the gap between costs and Medicaid reimbursement (then accruing at the rate of $12 per day per resident) widened. Risch predicted insolvency within five years if a change of course did not take place.

In the face of this situation, and only two years after closing the original Home, Lincoln Lutheran sold the facility at 1600 Ohio Street at a loss: a sale price of between $1.5 and $2 million against a $4 million outstanding mortgage. At the time of sale, the facility had lost $12 since 1990 when Lincoln Lutheran took it over from Westview. That figure can be attributed to costs incurred by Lincoln Lutheran in renovations and code compliance, capital budget items, the balance on the mortgage assumed in 1989, and shifts in market demands and expectations, discussed above. Also significant, and as previously noted, was the gap in Medicaid reimbursement. Eighty three percent of the residents at the Care Center were Medicaid patients.

Lincoln Lutheran also renegotiated workers’ contracts, resulting in employees making increased contributions to health care in return for the employer taking a greater role in funding pensions. Another labor situation contributing to the complexity of running the organization was a nursing shortage, leading to the hiring of a number of nurses from the Philippines. Carolyn Seeger recalled that she and her husband housed two of these nurses for two months until permanent housing could be found for them.

Lincoln Lutheran’s extended services were not immune to challenge either. The 2008 Great Recession and changes in federal funding caused Lincoln Lutheran to refocus Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Nutrition program to serve those in greatest need. By 2012 it was necessary to turn to the community to close a shortfall in Meals-on-Wheels funding; Racine residents generously responded with over $41,500 in donations.

At the same time, Lincoln Lutheran made attempts to grow its way out of some of its financial challenges. It launched a second upscale apartment facility, Bay Pointe at the Atrium, at 3950 N. Main Street. This project was dealt a dramatic setback when the building was destroyed by fire on the night of March 4, 2003 (the Racine Journal Sentinel headline the next day read: “Blaze in a Blizzard”) just as it was nearing completion. Eighty residents from the Atrium next door had to be evacuated and sheltered initially in city busses brought to the site; residents were later transported to local motels. Bay Pointe was completely rebuilt, and opened in May 2004.

Not all new initiatives were successful. In 2008 Lincoln Lutheran purchased property at 3720 N. Main Street from SC Johnson for the development of a side-by-side condominium community called Woodland Pointe. But the deepening financial crisis of that same year led to cancellation of the project.  Another initiative also failed to come to fruition. In 2009, after 81 years of service, the Danish American Home transferred ownership of the property to Lincoln Lutheran.

However, Lincoln Lutheran was unable to come up with the funds necessary to bring the facility into compliance with building and license codes. Lincoln Lutheran closed the Danish Home. Multiple options to re-open the facility under a variety of settings or purposes were studied, including a center for Lincoln Lutheran’s Community Outreach Services, Adult Day Services, and hospice opportunities. In May 2011 the Danish Home was sold to an independent provider and reopened as an assisted living community known as Elizabeth Gardens.

In the midst of all this there was still cause for celebration. In 2009 The Atrium observed its 20th anniversary. Five of the original residents were still enjoying life in their long-time home. In 2011 a senior dining site at Levi Barnes Manor in Waterford was opened, and Lincoln Lutheran partnered with the Veterans Administration to provide adult day services at the new Chestnut Club in Burlington. In 2013 renovations were completed at Becker-Shoop and the Hospice Alliance Hospice House opened in the west wing of that facility. Also in 2013 a seventh Harmony Club was established at one of Lincoln Lutheran’s partner congregations, Atonement Lutheran Church.

In 2008 Lincoln Lutheran launched one of its boldest initiatives, entering into a partnership with the Racine Dominican Sisters. On October 10, 2011, the two organizations went public with plans for Siena on the Lake, Inc. The three phase, $53 million dollar project would include a residence for the Racine Dominican Sisters, community space, independent apartments for older adults, a skilled nursing home and a memory care assisted living community. Lincoln Lutheran would provide the licensing and administration of the nursing home and assisted living facilities. Construction on Phase I of the project took place in 2013, and some of the existing buildings on the Racine Dominican campus were demolished to make way for Phase II: the new campus kitchen, library and other common space as well as the healthcare center (therapy, skilled nursing home and memory care assisted living). Phase III of the overall project, now projected at $68 million, would consist of 84 independent apartments for active seniors age 55 and older.

But the partnership and projected growth would not be a solution to Lincoln Lutheran’s problems. By 2014 the organization was experiencing a shortfall of $39 per day per resident on Medicaid reimbursement. Lincoln Lutheran still carried the unpaid portion of the mortgage on the short sale of the Ohio Street facility in 2002. In May 2014 Lincoln Lutheran CEO Rev. Daniel Risch announced his retirement after 14 years of service. Michelle Putz was named interim CEO.

On December 30, 2014, The Racine Journal Times carried the stark headline: “Lincoln Lutheran Insolvent.” The organization entered into voluntary receivership with Johnson Bank. Plans were made for the continued care of residents and the orderly dispersal of assets. Lincoln Lutheran and the Racine Dominicans took legal steps to unwind their partnership. In September 2015 the Auxiliary met for the last time. Funds remaining in its treasury were given to a successor group, “My Harmony Club” allowing that particular service to continue. The Auxiliary then formally disbanded.   A 60-year history of care to Racine’s elderly, and a major presence in the civic and religious culture of Racine, came to an end.

 

In speaking with former employees and administrators, one is struck by the loyalty and dedication with which they speak about their work — in many cases careers that spanned decades — with Lincoln Lutheran. Reflecting on her nearly 34 year career with Lincoln Lutheran, Carolyn Seeger wrote: “People who worked for Lincoln Lutheran truly believed they were making a difference in someone’s life. . . . Working for Lincoln Lutheran was my life – and the life others chose as well.”

— Dr. Laura Gellott, Museum Assistant

Return to List