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May 17, 2018
 
Kathy Adams, Menominee Senior Center assistant, serves lunch to Dick Ross, Menominee, at the senior center. Ross has become a big supporter of the center after returning to the area following retirement from education.
 
Dick Ross, Menominee, spent his career in education, both as a teacher and as an administrator. Now retired, he said the tables changed a bit when he first learned about the Menominee Senior Center, 905 10th St., and he’s glad to spread the good news.
Ross, a Menominee native, retired in 1997. His first stint was a fifth grade teacher in Green Bay in 1965. During his career he took part in numerous regional, state and national education improvement programs. One of his last efforts was to help school districts perform better despite dwindling budgets.
Ross and his wife of 55 years, Carol Jean, first hooked up with the senior center when they lived in Ishpeming and picked up meals at the senior center and brought them home to Carol Jean’s mother, Anabelle Prince. It wasn’t long before Dick and Carol Jean moved back to Menominee and started giving the center a test spin for themselves.
“It quickly became a nurturing center to us. If mom had questions about senior programs, finances or her taxes, we would just call. That, plus the Meals on Wheels, and she wouldn’t have been able to live alone without it. It became a way of life for her,” Dick said. Carol Jean’s mom also took part in the center’s transportation program to do shopping and go to medical appointments.
Then two years ago Dick and Carol Jean started going for morning coffee at the center. “I really didn’t know anybody. I came home, but after all these years I really didn’t know anybody. But then we met new people and starting seeing people we had known for a long time,” Dick said.
He added that it all started with warm coffee and warm conversation.
“We talk about current events and try to enlighten each other. It’s a good time. We all share a wealth of memories. It’s like living in National Geographic,” Dick said.
He visits the center two days to four days a week. “It provides a sense of being and a sense of community you won’t find anywhere else. It’s waiting here for you,” he said.
In addition to the camaraderie, he said the big drawing cards for him are the lunches, bakery items and special events like birthday dinners. He also praised center staff.
“They maintain a sense of harmony. It’s phenomenal. The kitchen staff makes you feel like you’re at home or at grandma’s,” Dick said.
“We don’t talk enough when we’re alone. What happens when you’re alone? That’s part of the magic that you find here. This is a treasure box,” he said.