Please check out our featured article in The Buffalo News here!
It is with great sadness for the Niagara Lutheran Health System and The GreenFields Continuing Care Community to report that Cal Haller, longtime board member at Niagara Lutheran Health System, who is also featured in the Buffalo News article, passed away on December 28, 2016. He will truly be missed, our condolences go out to his family.
In 1983, at the age of 62, Grace Blackwell was in the Intensive Care Unit for 21 days after undergoing open heart surgery. By 2000 she needed oxygen, had a heart pacer, and depression. She and her husband, Charlie, had a place of their own in Hamburg which, due to her limitations, she was largely confined to with few visitors, as her children were grown and working so could not visit often.
Pastor Michael Blackwell, Grace and Charlie’s son, was then (and still is) a board member for Niagara Lutheran and when it was announced that GreenField Manor was complete in 2001, he urged his parents to look into moving in. They had reservations at first, but eventually agreed to make the move for Grace’s benefit. By November 2001, they were official residents of The GreenFields.
Once the Blackwells moved into GreenField Manor, Charlie noticed a dramatic change in Grace’s demeanor. Her depression lifted as she became active in welcoming new residents and the library committee. Her biggest project though, was setting up a café for the residents to enjoy. She coordinated volunteers to work there and, outside of food, did all the purchasing for the café including things like candy, lotions, and toothpaste.
Grace went back to being the happy, joyful person she was and her move to GreenField Manor helped her achieve that through the community of people surrounding them to socialize with and keeping her busy. Unfortunately, Grace passed away in December 2006., but her memory lives on at The GreenFields, as the café was officially named Grace’s Place on February 15 2012, in honor of all of her hard work in getting the café starting and managing it for five years.
After Grace passed away, Charlie was dealing with the grief and adjustment of living alone. He served on the Altar Guild with the Pastoral Care Committee for the religious services and weekly Bible study on campus. He found comfort in overlooking the country-like setting of GreenField Manor from his balcony. For 30 years prior to moving to Hamburg, he and Grace had lived in Eden, so the peaceful surroundings at The GreenFields brought back great memories and made him feel right at home. His love of the outdoors also carried over into planting and maintaining a flowerbed and being able to walk up to two miles a day, all right on campus. Charlie credits GreenField Manor with helping him through those tough times after Grace’s passing, or in his words, “GreenField Manor to the rescue!”