Last week, the Newton Clinic said farewell to two of its longest-serving nurses, Marcia Rorabaugh and Joan Rusk. After 32 and 24 years of service to the clinic, respectively, Rorabaugh and Rusk shared laughs and memories at a retirement breakfast Thursday morning, Nov. 15.
For Rorabaugh, leaving Newton Clinic has been bittersweet.
“Yesterday was kind of hard,” she said during an interview following the breakfast. “Somebody said it would just be like a vacation at first. It’s just like, it’s over. It is a change. You say you’re ready, and I was ready, but it’ll be different.”
Nursing supervisor Arloa Harthoorn noticed this difference right away after the ladies’ last days on Monday and Thursday of last week.
“Joan worked Mondays and Fridays, and Mondays are always a busy day,” she said. “It seems really odd not to have her here on Monday mornings. It almost seems like they’re on vacation since it’s only been a few days, but it’s the new normal.”
“They were both very caring nurses,” Harthoorn added. “They really cared about their patients and doing the best for our patients that they possibly could.”
Thursday morning’s breakfast served as an opportunity for employees as well as Rorabaugh and Rusk’s families to come together at the clinic one last time.
“We had (one of our staff) make a slideshow on the computer with old pictures from different parties and events through the years that we had running,” Harthoorn said. “We had a nice time just to visit and reminisce.”
“My family was there and Joan’s husband was there ... there were tears,” Rorabaugh added.
This is only fitting, as the clinic became somewhat of a second home to Rorabaugh over her 32 years as a nurse there.
“When we started, the clinic was across the street,” Rorabaugh explained. “A good share of the people were over there then too, so we became close. When I left the other day, I thought, you know, we’ve raised our families together, we’ve married and buried together. Our kids have grown up through the years, so it’s been a hard thing to leave.”
“We’ve watched our kids grow up from the time they were little,” Harthoorn added. “It’s kind of like, through all those high school years with all those athletic events your families grow up together.”
Among Rorabaugh’s retirement plans are a family trip to Florida this winter as well as working with local schools. Despite keeping busy, though, Rorabaugh says she won’t be a stranger to those still working at the clinic.
“I told them that I wouldn’t be opposed to working if someone can’t make it in,” she said with a laugh.