Caregivers leave lasting gifts

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There are caregivers of all kinds among us — here are a few recent stories of their good work.

David McFadyean wrote the Inter Lake to share his experience with the staff at Heritage Place who had cared for his mother the last several years.

Dorothy McFadyean had lived at Heritage Place in Kalispell since September 2011. She died Feb. 27 at the age of 99. Her son wrote a letter of gratitude for the care his mother received there while suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in Minnesota in 1917, Dorothy moved with her family to a ranch near Gateway, Montana, near the Canadian border; the small town was later submerged under Lake Koocanusa. After graduating from high school in Eureka, Dorothy took a job cooking for park crews in Glacier National Park, often spending weeks at a time in the backcountry. She met her husband there and they later owned a small grocery in Cut Bank until he joined the Navy. After the war the couple opened a market in Eureka, eventually moving out of state until returning to the Flathead Valley in 1988 to be near their children.

David described his mother’s years at Heritage Place with much appreciation.

“I spent a lot of time there. I got to experience just how good those people are and what they do to make the lives better for their patients,” he said. “They’re not easy to care for.”

He thanked former administrator Ron Gersack who helped him with the process of admitting his mother. He also thanked Betty, Sue and the entire staff for their genuine love and care they showed her.

“My mother was a class act,” David said. In her day, she was an excellent seamstress and gardener. The family friend who delivered her eulogy said she was authentically elegant and a lady of noble character. But Dorothy also had a spunky side, David said lightheartedly, hinting at a little altercation that transpired when another patient made off with her walker.

“Thanks is a small word for the loving care provided my mother for the past five-plus years. The staff gave my mother, and the other patients, endless care 24/7. It takes very special people to provide this much necessary care and concern for the aged.”

David wanted it known that Heritage Place was the best place for his mother and he recommends the care center to everyone.

Another recent letter to the Inter Lake told the story of Dr. Kenneth and Connie Moss of Polson who were in the north end of the valley for a car tune up in January and decided to stay overnight and have dinner at Jagz Restaurant to celebrate their anniversary. The Mosses noticed the man seated next to them was presenting his girlfriend with a small box. The couple were soon kissing and admiring the fiancee’s new engagement ring. As the newly engaged couple were leaving they asked how many years the older couple had been married. They explained that they married in their late 50s and were celebrating their 27th anniversary.

“They probably thought that was forever,” Connie Moss joked.

The two couples congratulated each other and wished each other a good night.

Later, when the Mosses asked for their bill the waitress informed them that their dinner had been paid for by the other couple.

Connie then broke into tears; the waitress was on the verge.

“If anyone out there knows a couple who became engaged Jan. 5 at Jagz, tell them you know about a couple of old timers from Polson who will forever remember their wonderful surprise,” the Mosses wrote.

Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or by email at

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