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Duensing Retires After 50 Years of Service at Memorial Hospital

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Marilyn Duensing, Operating Room LPN, will be donning her scrubs one last time the end of January, as she plans to retire from Memorial Hospital in Chester after 50 years of service.

Marilyn Duensing and Brett Bollmann, CEO

Memorial Hospital staff celebrated her retirement on January 26 with a cake and punch reception. Brett Bollmann, CEO of Memorial, presented Duensing with a certificate commemorating her 50 years of service at Memorial. She will be awarded her retiree gift later in the year during the hospital’s annual employee recognition party.

Duensing started her nursing career at Memorial as a nurses aide on January 21, 1973. She attended the Memorial Hospital Nursing Aide Program for Chester High School students. The program was organized by Theresa Solano, RN, and Director of Inservice Education at that time. This cooperative program was the seed from which Duensing’s accomplished nursing career grew. In 1981, she received her LPN and in 1984 made the move to the surgery department. In 1995, she received her certification in surgical technology and in 2018 moved to the outpatient care area of the surgical department, or ASC.

During her esteemed time at Memorial, she was honored with the Employee of the Quarter award in 1999 and the annual Israel D. Newmark Memorial Award in 2009. Marilyn reflects that during her time at Memorial, “many people have been here and watched me ‘grow up’ and into the person I achieved to be.” She is grateful for the co-workers who taught and mentored her through the years. “Some of my favorite memories are of the ‘older nurses aides’ teaching me many of their skills, which I still rely on.” Along with the education and training, she remembers the fun they had at work and together socially outside of work. Through the years, some have passed on, but the memories and impact they have made on her life remain.

Just as so many helped train Duensing, she has had the opportunity to help many new nurses starting their healthcare journeys and provide wisdom to aid in their success. Some of her co-workers had these wonderful memories and sentiments to share:

“I live in Perryville and got hired a couple years ago. Shortly after my hire, there was some flooding and the bridge was closed making it difficult to devise a plan for me to make it to my new job. Without even knowing me, she offered to let me stay at her place. I'm truly grateful that she was willing to open her home to a stranger. Ill never forget her kindness!” – Sarah Berkbigler, Operating Room Technician

How do I begin to put into words over 40 years working with this fantastic lady. I worked with Marilyn as a CNA when I was a student in nursing school. We have worked together in surgery for 36 years. Marilyn is a kind, giving and good Christian person. We have shared laughs and tears over our years together. Marilyn goes above and beyond in work and caring for her patients as well as coworkers. She always has a smile and is quick to complete task. The stories we could tell from water fights to being called in for a “Disaster”. We also shared a common interest in working with Youth as well. Marilyn has been responsible for the high school youth at St. Johns while I was responsible for St. Marks for many years. The National Youth Gatherings we have planned and shared ideas about in our years are countless. Marilyn will be missed at work however, I only wish God’s richest blessings to this great lady in her retirement. Congratulations Marilyn! Enjoy this new chapter in your life” – Deb Mevert, Manager Perioperative Services

“Marilyn is an extremely dynamic person. She has been a great benefit to the hospital and to myself personally. It has been my honor and pleasure to have worked alongside her. Thank you for everything.” – Joetta McFarland, OR RN.

I will miss seeing Marilyn every day, she's been here for all of my almost 26 years. She was always a pleasure to work with, she could answer any question in our dept, she has a wealth of knowledge. She never refused to do anything that was asked of her or help out when it was needed. She's always promoted our hospital and been proud to say she works here. There will never be another Marilyn!! She deserves nothing but happiness in her retirement and an occasional car show with Gary.” – Deana Tudor, OR RN.

“I remember those days we had a census of 80-100 in-patients, teaming up and always helping each other. Marilyn was always willing to pitch in and was kind and compassionate to her patients. When she decided to go on to nursing school we knew she would be a very good one and glad she came back to her home town hospital to work.” – Carol Schulein, Storeroom Manager.

In 50 years, she has had the satisfaction of witnessing many changes in healthcare. From the advancement of the surgical equipment and technology which has led to recovery time for patients, to the many improvements to the hospital building. Most recently, she has been thrilled with the new awning addition at the main entrance, which allows the ASC staff to transfer patients to their vehicles in comfort during all weather.

It is quite an accomplishment to spend one’s entire working career with the same organization. Duensing’s joy for helping people made her time at Memorial worthwhile. “It makes me feel happy when I can see [a patient] recover after a surgery and help them to get back to their normal way of life.” She enjoys the smiles on the patients’ faces and the fabulous co-workers she has had the luxury to work beside. “We all work together to make sure our patients receive the best possible care.” She will miss the staff, doctors, patients and Monday morning biscuits and gravy most of all. She will miss the “Monday morning catch-up stories from [her] co-workers, sharing what they did with their families over the weekend.” She will also miss the wonderful conversation with all, but looks forward to the freedom that the future holds.

Duensing plans to travel and spend more time with family in the upcoming years. She and her husband Gary, love to attend car shows and look forward to adding more to their calendar. With daughters, Molly and Rachel, living out of state the couple has plans to spend more time visiting with them and making more memories with their son, Chris and his family. In retirement, she looks forward to spending more time doing the things she loves, caring for her 94-year-old mother and volunteering with the church. Her caring and kind heart knows no bounds.

Memorial Hospital wishes her much enjoyment in what lies ahead and thanks Marilyn with an over flowing grateful heart for her half a decade of service to helping us care for our community. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow throughout the years and we thank you for spending that time with us.

A look back through the years...

Retirement Party at Memorial Hospital

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