Dianne McClung retiring from Lakeside Nursing Center

Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Dianne McClung

Dianne McClung, assistant administrator at Lakeside Nursing Center in Lake City, retired recently due to her health. She said she may not physically be on the job every day but her heart will remain at Lakeside.

"I will miss the residents, the staff, and the families," McClung said. "Retirement is not easy for me. I loved working here. I was hoping I would be able to come back to work, but my doctor said I needed to retire."

The nursing home facility was built in 1985, and McClung, a licensed practical nurse, joined the staff in 1988.

She has done most all jobs at the nursing center. She has been a nurse, social and activity director, worked in medical records, and for the last years of her service handled admissions and served as assistant to the administrator. Those were her official titles, but she has worked in all aspects of the nursing home. She has cooked meals, washed clothes and cleaned rooms when she was needed.

Administrator Michael Smith said he and the entire staff will miss McClung.

"We all wear many hats here, but she wore as many or more than any of us," Smith said. "She will be greatly missed. I could say, 'Dianne take care of this,' and it would be done. She was instrumental in the Senior Olympics, pageants, and receptions. Her retirement party will be the first one she has not coordinated and put together since I have been here."

Smith joined the Lakeside staff in 1994 and said McClung was there to help him when he started.

"People do not realize the process and paperwork in admissions," Smith said. "There is more to it than just having an available bed. It is a three to five day project with a lot of paper work. We have to make sure we have the medicine, food, and supplies to meet the special needs of each individual. Everything has to be in place so we can offer the best care for all residents when they arrive. Dianne has always made sure everything is ready."

McClung said she always wanted to be a nurse, but when she was younger her mother wanted her to go to beauty school.

"One of my first jobs as a hair dresser was going to a nursing home and fixing hair for the residents," McClung said. "That was when I knew I had to go to nursing school."

She received her nursing degree in 1972. She worked at the Paragould hospital in the emergency room before going to work at Lakeside.

She is a Lake City native and is glad she got to work in her hometown these past years.

"I live just out the back door of the nursing home," McClung said. "If there was ever a problem they could call me and I never minded coming back to work anytime."

She has seen the Lakeside Nursing Center grow through the years. She has been part of three expansions. When she first went to work there it was part of the ExtendiCare Corporation (Joe and Caren Gamble). Reliance Corporation purchased the business in 2001. Today Lakeside is a 75-bed facility complete with rehabilitation services.

"I have enjoyed getting to know the residents," McClung said. "Every time we get a new one it is like an addition to our family. We really are like one big family here."

She said she has enjoyed coming to work every day. She has never owned an alarm clock.

"My body gets up at 5 a.m. every day," she said.

She plans to spend more time with her family. She and her husband, Johnny, have five acres at Mountain View. He retired from FMC several years ago.

"It is on top of a mountain with a pond full of fish and ducks and a creek at the bottom of the hill," she said. "We will spend more time there. Our grandsons love it."

The McClungs have two daughters, Dana Grimes, who works at Riverside East Elementary School, and Vicki Blagg, who works at Riverside West Elementary School. They have three grandsons, Blaine 13, Coby 12, and Garrett 6. They all live in Lake City.

McClung said she plans on catching up with her reading.

She will be honored with a drop-in reception in her honor from 2-5 p.m. Friday, July 15, at Lakeside.

"It is an open invitation to all families of present and former residents, employees, former employees and all of her friends and family to stop by and thank her for years of service to Lakeside," Administrator Smith said. "She has touched thousands of lives through her work at Lakeside. She will be missed and we all wish her a great retirement. She deserves it."

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