Eileen Korhumel, a longtime volunteer with the Little Sisters of the Poor who started an adult day care in 1988 in Sylvania Township, died at home in West Toledo on Wednesday.
She was 88 and her health had declined this year but her death was unexpected, her daughter Ann Filipiak said.
Mrs. Korhumel opened Mary’s Adult Day Care Center Inc. — so named because of her devotion to the Virgin Mary — on Holland-Sylvania Road after touring 90 adult day cares in 15 states.
Her day care often drew about 25 clients and had about 10 employees, including a bus driver, a cook, an exercise instructor, a crafts leader, and several nurses and aides.
Mrs. Korhumel would read the newspaper aloud to the group and take part in the activities of the moment, recalled Chris Fox, a part-time bookkeeper for the day care.
“She was just so caring. It was like a place you’d want to take your mom or dad,” Ms. Fox said, recalling the bird feeders on the patio, the fresh flowers that Mrs. Korhumel brought in, and the library of Books on Tape that she kept.
Mrs. Korhumel told The Blade right before the center opened that she planned to charge $30 per day. The center, which she operated for about five years before selling the building to what is now ProMedica Flower Hospital, was always largely a labor of love.
“If it had not been such a nice place, it might have been a bigger moneymaker,” Ms. Fox said.
But Mrs. Korhumel wanted the day care to be even better than home for her clients.
“We will have a more stimulating atmosphere,” she told The Blade in 1987, mentioning the many activities she planned. “Families can’t always get a loved one to do all the things they should, to do what a stranger might be able to get them to do, and to get them to live to the optimum of their abilities.”
The center came about after Mrs. Korhumel had volunteered for years with the Little Sisters of the Poor, where she organized birthday parties — complete with cakes and presents — for the residents.
At the Little Sisters, she realized she could be of more help if she had more medical training. She graduated from what is now Owens Community College as a registered nurse in 1979.
“I think my mother had a calling to help the elderly and homebound,” her daughter said.
She was born Dec. 3, 1928, to Owen and Alma Murtagh, the third of their four children. She grew up on Kenwood Boulevard, attending Gesu School and helping in the family’s Stop and Shop grocery, first on Detroit Avenue and later on Monroe Street.
She graduated from St. Ursula Academy in 1946 and from Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y., where she studied chemistry, in 1950.
In 1952 she married George Korhumel, a World War II veteran who attended Notre Dame University with her brother. Mr. Korhumel was the third-generation owner of the former Superior Typesetting. They were married for 62 years when he died last December.
She volunteered in her four children’s schools when they were young, telling stories, for instance, to grade school students while they ate lunch, her daughter Kathy Dise recalled.
During those years she helped manage Gerity Properties with her siblings, but much of her time was spent helping others.
“She was always secretly doing something good for someone,” her daughter Ann said.
In retirement she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate for youth and took the Eucharist to the elderly and homebound.
She also loved an adventure and more material for a good story and would travel with her friend Pat Smith to celebrity court trials and funerals.
Surviving are her daughters, Kathy Dise, Karen Weidner, and Ann Filipiak; son, Timothy; 14 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Walker Funeral Home with a rosary service at 7:30 p.m. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Gesu Catholic Church.
The family suggests tributes to St. Francis de Sales High School, St. Ursula Academy, or the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Contact Jane Schmucker at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.
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