Local nurse retires from Chapel Hill Community after 43 years

Kay Flanagan, assistant director of nursing at Chapel Hill Community retiringCANAL FULTON, Ohio [Sept. 10, 2019] – Wednesday, Aug. 28 was like any other work day for Kay Flanagan, assistant director of nursing at Chapel Hill Community, part of the United Church Homes senior living network. She arrived for her shift early and guided staff through the day’s tasks of caring for residents. However, this shift would be her last.

In some ways, Flanagan’s last shift was very different from a typical workday. She cleaned out her office, spent time visiting with residents and family members and passed along notebooks of information to staff who would take over her duties moving forward.

Flanagan, a resident of East Canton, retired from Chapel Hill after 43 years of dedicated service. She has been described by her co-workers and supervisors as diligent, dedicated and a fierce advocate for residents and staff.

“Kay was the first nurse I worked with,” said Pat Tallman, an activities assistant, who has worked at Chapel Hill for 40 years. “She is so knowledgeable about the medical field. There was no one more dedicated to her role than Kay.”

Executive Director Debbie Durbin said Flanagan is the unofficial historian of Chapel Hill Community. Flanagan was introduced to the community when she was just 12 years old in 1966, when she visited Chapel Hill with a choir from her church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

Flanagan graduated in 1975 from Akron General Medical School of Nursing. Her first position at Chapel Hill was as staff nurse when Rev. Robert Hegnauer was administrator. Rev. Hegnauer had been Flanagan’s pastor and baptized her as a baby.

Over the years, Flanagan has been a constant through numerous additions and renovations. She has worked with at least 11 administrators and 11 directors of nursing (DON). Flanagan became acting DON between each new leader. Flanagan has overseen more than 7,000 admissions and cared for thousands of residents, their families and staff.

“Her car was the first car I saw in the parking lot in the morning and the last car remaining in the parking lot at night,” Durbin said. “Kay has become part of the fabric and history of Chapel Hill Community.”

When asked what makes Chapel Hill unique, Flanagan did not hesitate. “The people – residents, families and staff. United Church Homes has always been a front-runner in the long-term care profession. One of the best things UCH ever did for staff is the retirement plan. Without it, I would not have been able to retire.”

As for advice Flanagan has for new nurses, she encouraged them to look for the bright side in all they do. “There will be few perfect days but strive to make every day the best that it can be,” she said.

Marc Dye, a registered nurse, former neighborhood manager and staff member for three years, has been promoted to assistant DON.

For more information about Chapel Hill Community, visit chapelhillcommunity.org.

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About Chapel Hill Community: Chapel Hill Community offers independent and assisted living, long-term skilled care, short-term rehabilitation and memory care on a beautiful campus outside Canal Fulton, Ohio. As part of the United Church Homes family of senior living communities, its mission is to transform aging by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace.