Toledo Hospital nurse Pattye Nicolls, right, greets Ayla Soria, 1, while she is with her mother Angalina Soria in the Debbie Brass Children's Cancer Center earlier this month.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
There were two things Pattye Nicolls never wanted for her nursing career: to be a supervisor and to work in pediatrics.
“Being a nurse was all I ever wanted to be, even as a kid,” said Mrs. Nicolls, a registered nurse at Toledo Hospital. “But I didn’t want to work in peds and I didn’t want to be a supervisor. I just didn’t want to do it.”
On Tuesday, she will retire from the hospital after almost 45 years. She’s served in a number of positions over the years, and is currently a patient care supervisor for pediatric hematology oncology — the two jobs she never wanted — and just the thought of leaving brings tears to her eyes.
“Sometimes I ask myself, why am I even doing this,” she said through tears. “I’d planned to be here 50 years, because I wanted the 50-year award. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted it. But, it’s time. In my heart, I know it’s time.”
The end of 2013 will bring her last days on the job and the end of the Blade’s monthly On the Job series, which, like Mrs. Nicolls, is retiring.
She started her career at Toledo Hospital when she was 14 years old. She worked as a volunteer, transporting patients, and on her 16th birthday the hospital hired her. She’s never worked anywhere else.
In her current role she is responsible for making sure the department’s out-patient clinic where young patients receive chemotherapy treatments runs smoothly. A cork board hanging in her office is filled with pictures of some of those patients. She remembers each of their stories.
“We see them when they’re first diagnosed, and we see them come back years later, all grown up, graduating college, married, pregnant,” Mrs. Nicolls said. “It’s amazing to see them after knowing how sick they were. But, the ones who have just been diagnosed, I won’t know what will happen to them.”
An avid birdwatcher, her retirement will be filled with chasing down rare birds, traveling, and spending time with her family.
“Just to be able to do things on impulse, because everything is always planned,” Mrs. Nicolls said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
No more heavy loads
Day trips, a mid-week outing to the movies, traveling, and lawn work are what Don and Pat Munkacy have planned for their retirement. After 34 and 27 years respectively, each is retiring from work as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service.
Six days a week they would hike through the snow and bake in the summer sun, carrying bags that weigh 35 pounds and packages that weigh up to 50 pounds to deliver mail in Toledo neighborhoods. Mrs. Munkacy will retire on Jan. 10 and Mr. Munkacy, on Tuesday.
“I can’t imagine walking through this again,” said Mrs. Munkacy, 64, of Toledo, who walked for six or seven hours a day on her route.
“It really takes a toll on your body,” said Mr. Munkacy who is recovering from knee replacement surgery. Last year he underwent a hip replacement. “It’s a workout and the older you get, the harder it is.”
The demanding schedule of six days a week plus overtime left little time for other things. They have missed out on time with their children and grandchildren, and a trip to Salzburg, Austria, for their son’s wedding was cut short because “we had to get back to work,” Mrs. Munkacy said.
“We can take our time doing things now,” Mr. Munkacy said. “That’s what retirement affords us, regardless of what it is.”
A new chapter
Twenty-five years and out. That was Linda Rubino’s plan when she decided to enter the work force after years of being a stay-at-home mom. On Monday, her 25 years in the work force will have come and gone.
“I love this job, but I’m done,” said Mrs. Rubino, attendance secretary at Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High. “My mother worked until she was 89. There was no way I was going to do that. While I’m young enough and healthy, I want to start a new chapter of my life.”
At the school, she’s on the front line, acting as building greeter and receptionist. She also handles purchase orders and keeps track of attendance for the 500 students at the school, many of whom she knows by name.
A couple of weeks before her retirement, students filed in and out of the office to wish her well. Her desk, covered with handmade cards and baskets, was overflowing with gifts. The students surprised her with a flash mob of “When I’m Gone” from the movie Pitch Perfect and her favorite song, “Thriller.”
“I’m really going to miss seeing the students every day,” said Mrs. Rubino, who has worked at the school for 14 years. Before that she worked 11 years in the Washington Local district. “They just embrace you and make you feel like you’re part of a family.”
On Jan. 1, she’ll kick off her new chapter with a trip to Myrtle Beach with friends.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to, traveling, relaxing, yoga, sleeping in,” said Mrs. Rubino, 63 of Toledo. “I can do anything or nothing at all.”
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: email@example.com or 419-724-6133.