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Year: 2022

Save the Date for our May 13, 2023, Annual Benefit!

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

We are going back in time . . . together, and in person!

Our annual benefit is set for Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Hotel Eastlund. Come drink and dine and have a ball, while supporting the residents of Cedar Sinai Park.

A special thank you to our presenting sponsor, Marcy Tonkin.

Are you interested in being a sponsor?  Please contact Development Committee Chair Michelle Gradow if you wish to be a sponsor, at (503) 730-1786.

New Logo for Cedar Sinai Park Highlights Inclusivity

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Cedar Sinai Park has re-branded itself with a new logo that represents the inclusivity the organization seeks.

“Looking at our new logo, no matter your religion, culture, or ethnicity, you can feel a sense of belonging,” said Board Chair Steve Rallison. “Appealing to the larger community, without forgetting our Jewish roots,  is a direction Cedar Sinai Park  has been headed for a while.  The new logo is indicative of the organization’s inclusive, forward-moving direction.”

Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Fuson said the new logo was a year in the making. “There were many discussions with residents and staff and the community and board about what makes Cedar Sinai Park unique, and how we carry our foundational Jewish values of  love, honor, and respect  into the next century,” she said. “We believe the design selected hits all of those notes.”

Fuson said the design was intentionally inclusive with the Star of David in the middle, representing Judaism and the “heart” of Cedar Sinai Park’s history and longevity, but additional elements were added to represent interconnection with others, including a cross, curving toward the heart, a flame, for the energy and positivity in the community, and leaves as a symbol of new growth and opportunity.

“Our new logo weaves inclusivity into the tapestry of life at Cedar Sinai Park; this logo is an expression of Kulanu,  of all of us together ; of residents, families, staff, volunteers and trustees learning and growing in support of our mission at Cedar Sinai Park residents,” said Fuson.

Currently, about 75 percent of elders who access Cedar Sinai Park’s services are Jewish; the other 25 percent are a mix of other cultures, ethnicities, and religious and spiritual affiliations.

“We know that in order to flourish as an organization, we need to serve the broader community,” said Fuson. “Many of our non-Jewish elders are referred by their Jewish friends, and we always want them to have a place at our table and feel welcomed, while at the same time honoring the foundational Jewish values upon we have been known for the past 102 years.

“We are an organization that embraces diversity and our logo represents that inclusivity,” said Fuson. “By virtue of our Jewish heritage, we are a people who deeply understand oppression. Many of our staff sought to work at Cedar Sinai Park because we embrace the unique richness of each individual. Often, we find that people of other cultures understand that about our community and want to work and live and connect with us because they feel safe expressing their whole person.

Fuson said the new logo expresses the idea of person-centered care, where the entire community supports each other regardless of where they are in their aging journey.

“At Cedar Sinai Park, our culture of community supports first knowing each person with whom we work, live and volunteer. We all care for each other. As one of our trustees said, “our logo feels like being embraced in a warm blanket of love.”

Marie Godfrey

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

It’s Doctor, Actually

If the walls at Rose Schnitzer Manor could talk, they might express surprise at a recent lecture in the May Living Room led by resident Marie Godfrey, Ph.D.

“Let’s start with our usual `Today in Genetics’ topic,” says Marie, cheerfully. “Today, it’s gene modification. You’ve probably heard the term GMO, or genetically modified organism. I’m talking about adding a vitamin D gene to a tomato. Perhaps we could replace the sun and vitamin pills with tasty tomatoes. As you know, part of my job is to introduce you to modern genetics and then explain why the idea is a waste of time and money.”

Marie’s rapt audience nods vigorously as she takes a breath.

This isn’t the sort of gathering you typically find at an independent and assisted living facility. But Marie is not a typical resident, nor is she a typical female of her generation.

She describes herself as one in a line of four strong women who take on whatever challenges are presented. Marie’s mother, daughter, and granddaughter are her stoic and resilient partners.

Marie St. Pierre was born in 1941 in Hartford, Connecticut, four days before Pearl Harbor; her brother was born “two years and eight months later on the same day of the month.”

She said her parents were “uneducated”—her mother was good at math but completed only the fifth grade to work on her foster parents’ farm—and her father ‘read a lot’ but mostly ‘junk Westerns.’”

The family was very poor, says Marie, living in a small house with no hot water and an oil stove for cooking. Some food was from unlabeled and dented cans gifted by the grocery store and produce about to be tossed. They also had a large garden.

As for school, “I was always told by my father, ‘Yeah, you got all A’s, but how often are you going to do that?’” says Marie. “It was always sort of a half compliment.”

Young Marie was quickly put into advanced classes, beginning with biology and chemistry. By the time she was in high school, her teachers recommended college. Unfortunately, tuition was $150 a semester and housing on campus was expensive.

“I begged and borrowed and all the rest of that kind of stuff to go to college and looked at a variety of schools, ending up at the Hartford branch of the University of Connecticut,” she said. “My father was dying of esophageal cancer at the time, so I needed to be near home.”

I wanted to do research. I told them, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I’d like to do it!’

After her father died, Marie was taking a chemistry class and helping set up the lab when her teacher had a “mental breakdown” and she was asked to take over the labs. From this experience came an invitation to the main campus in Storrs.

“When they agreed to pay tuition and other costs, I said I would go. I wanted to do research. I told them, I don’t know what it is, but I’d like to do it!” said Marie. That fall she moved to campus and was assigned a genetics teacher who was teaching graduate students. Meanwhile, she was developing a feistiness that seems to continue this day.

Marie received her bachelor of arts in zoology in 1963.

When Marie was asked where she was going to graduate school she replied, “Are you kidding?” A male colleague told her that he was registering her to attend Johns Hopkins, which at the time had only men in its undergraduate program. “In the graduate program, though, there were women,” she said. Funding was through United States government research programs.

Her three-part doctoral thesis involved studying a mutation found by a fellow researcher at the National Institutes of Health.

“I needed to insert a gene into the standard strain of Salmonella typhimurium to provide a marker for identifying the location and orientation of the histidine operon,” said Marie. “My mutation was at the beginning of the operon; it inactivated all 10 genes. The mutation disrupted a TAC nucleotide triplet, inactivating the turning on of the first gene—and nine others–in the operon.”

I tried to get on the Vanderbilt faculty and could not. It turned out women weren’t allowed to be faculty if their husbands were faculty.

At Hopkins, Marie and a friend helped establish a graduate club. It’s still in operation more than 50 years later. Music and food attracted many male attendees, she said; Marie met her future husband, Andy Godfrey, there.

While preparing for her thesis defense in microbial genetics, one of Marie’s reviewers asked her if she was planning to “get married and have children instead of working,” an allowable question back in the day.

“Women were still a minority, an under-recognized group even at Hopkins,” Marie said, and then with her wry understatement added: “It was an interesting time.”

After completing her doctoral degree, Marie did a one-year post-doc at Princeton University, working with a spore-forming microorganism. She and Andy were married in 1968 and moved to Nashville where Andy taught geology at Vanderbilt, and Marie accomplished a second post-doc year.

“I tried to get on the Vanderbilt faculty and could not,” said Marie. “It turned out women weren’t allowed to be faculty if their husbands were faculty. I finally ended up getting a staff job helping teach a bacteriology laboratory for nurses and eventually replacing the instructor of a laboratory course in molecular biology.”

Marie and Andy collaborated on a water contamination project in the Cumberland River that was published in the local paper. When someone else was tapped for the geology tenure position, they moved to Utah, where Andy worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Marie served as a volunteer educator for the American Cancer Society. This was the beginning of a 38-year life in Utah.

“It was different,” said Marie, who had two daughters during this time. “There were no colleges nearby so there was no place I could teach. And I couldn’t teach in the local schools because I had a higher degree than other teachers or the principal. And, I wasn’t Mormon.”

Marie spent a summer in southern Utah earning a secondary teaching certificate, and was later a substitute chemistry, and math, and English distance learning high school teacher. She taught night school at the local technology school and asked to teach advanced placement biology when she realized that the person instructing her daughter “had no idea what he was doing.” Later, she worked as the director of a women’s shelter, Girl Scout leader, and board secretary.

On a trip to Portland for a triennial meeting, “I was introduced to Saturday Market,” said Marie. “I really liked the place and I found Portland safer than Salt Lake City.”

Finally in a real city in Utah, she began writing for pharmaceutical companies and traveled frequently in the United States and Europe. In her job as medical writer and department director, she wrote clinical trial reports and summary documents for marketing applications for a variety of companies and drugs.

Both of Marie’s daughters selected colleges in Oregon, married, and made homes in Portland. When Andy died in 2006 from a brain tumor, Marie bought a house here and finally made it back to Portland.

Marie moved into Rose Schnitzer Manor in the fall of 2018 where cats Cricket and Panther were also welcomed.

“There are a lot of activities here that people attend. People here are more likely to be educated than other places I investigated,” she said.

“I didn’t know much about Judaism, so I studied the Torah for two years. As far as I’m concerned, religion is your own choice, and now that I know why certain traditions are done, I can understand them.”

“I also learned that Jews love to argue,” said Marie, throwing her head back with a loud chuckle, “and that was good for me. The attitudes toward people and the variety of people here are much healthier than the other faiths that I’ve been near, and I like the fact that people are not judgmental.”

Marie has found Covid and its virus fascinating to study and calls it the “smartest living un-living thing I’ve ever run across.” She challenges the misinformation about the Covid vaccines and includes information in her discussions with friends and those in the genetics class.

In addition to teaching basic genetics to the Rose Schnitzer Manor residents, Marie is in the choir. She has been on the Resident Council. And in May 2022, she spoofed Cliff from the television show “Cheers” wearing a favorite t-shirt: “Never Underestimate a Woman with a Doctoral Degree.”

“I love to talk,” she said. “I always say to new people, `I’m known as Marie who talks a lot.’ The first time I heard that, the other person finished by taking a breath. And then said, “but she’s really intelligent.”

She appreciates that view.

Linfield Student Nurses Receive Hands-on Clinical Training at Cedar Sinai Park

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Nursing students from Linfield College are at Cedar Sinai Park for eight-week clinical rotations, as part of their bachelor of nursing program. Almost two dozen students have been helping at Robison Jewish Health Center/Harold Schnitzer Center for Living with tasks such as interviewing patients, changing wound dressings, feeding meals, transferring our beloved friends, and administering insulin.

Groups of students began rotations here in August, and the last group will finish in early December. Several shared their observations, as their rotation was winding down.

“We’ve all pictured what nursing homes would be like, yet coming here was completely different,” said nursing student Makenzie. “It’s clean here and it doesn’t smell, and the residents are well taken care of. It’s a very friendly environment. The nurses are very empathetic towards the residents and are willing to spend the time to get on their level and talk with them.

“It’s really cool because the residents have tons of activities to do. This is way more than just somewhere for them to exist. It’s a full experience, which is really nice.”

Makenzie added that Cedar Sinai Park has “everything needed to provide efficient care” and help its nurses succeed, and that the rotation offers nursing students the chance to see different health professionals in action. Several of the students pursuing nursing degrees already are certified nursing assistants and have worked in other elder living facilities.

“It’s nice to see the whole process of how the different roles work,” said nursing student Tiffany. “Doing rotations, you kind of worry, because we’ve all heard horror stories of nurses that don’t want to work with students because they’re rushed due to Covid and don’t have time for students, but everyone here is great.”

Linfield Adjunct Professor Florence Omekara, Ph.D., R.N., I.B.C.L.C., agreed the clinical experiences at Robison Jewish Health Center/Harold Schnitzer Center for Living have been positive and effective.

“We are all very appreciative of the learning experiences and support here at this facility,” said Omekara, “and the students are excited to use the skills for their future nursing practice as they go out into the workforce.”


Jeremy Schwartzberg: A Foodie Comes to Oregon

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

You might say Jeremy Schwartzberg grew up in food.

“Our family owned a food business,” said the senior chef at Rose Schnitzer Manor (pictured at right, with longtime cook Martin). “I grew up in the Catskills and Borsch Belt. All the hotels around us were kosher and we sold them all food. I’ve never walked in the front door of a kitchen; I was always in the back door.”

Jeremy is a lifelong New Yorker and talks like one, rapid-fire, short, and direct sentences. He’s lived in a number of states: Georgia, Nevada, and Florida, among others.

Four years ago, his best friend who’d moved to Portland suggested Jeremy try Oregon. Jeremy took a job at an insurance company, but before he could start working, he was asked to interview at Cedar Sinai Park.

“The executive chef and I met in the Lubliner private dining room, and Lubliner is my mother’s maiden name,” he said. “After the interview, I called my brother and asked, ‘Is this a sign?’ Mom had just died. He said I should take the chef job. So, I started working here and I’ve been here ever since.”

Jeremy attended the State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta for a bachelor of arts in business administration and economics, and then went on to SUNY Sullivan County Community College for a culinary degree.

Fortunately, for Cedar Sinai Park, cooking kosher comes naturally to Jeremy. He does a great job explaining to new employees how kosher works and the need for separate dairy and meat kitchens, along with which animals can be consumed and when and how kitchen items can be shared and how to determine whether a product is kosher certified.

“I actually grew up non-kosher,” he said. “I ate bacon at home. But we didn’t have milk on our table at dinner at home, and we never served meat and dairy together.”

Jeremy said he orders all of Rose Schnitzer Manor’s kosher food from Seattle, and the kosher meats are from South America.

“I didn’t know they had rabbis slaughtering and blessing our food, but all our meat comes from Paraguay,” he said, chuckling.

“Kosher is a better quality of meat,” said Jeremy. “The cuts are better. The animals are humanely slaughtered to remove all of the fat and nerves and as much blood as possible, so there’s really not too much bacteria left, and it’s good quality. It feels a little healthier and richer.”

What is the most popular meal? “Anything with chicken or meat,” he said. “Friday night Shabbats here are the best.

“We serve tons of fish. Fish must have fins and scales, so no shellfish. We often serve salmon, or sole, red snapper, or halibut.”

A typical day has Jeremy putting away the produce that’s been delivered, and he has to place all the food orders by 10 a.m.

“US Foods, Sysco, Pacific Seafood, Alpenrose,” he recited. “I order produce every day. The two big boys, I get twice a week. I do my affordable kosher order for the upcoming week. It’s a week in advance. Then, on Wednesdays, I usually put away all the food and I usually prep all day or cook or whatever needs to be done. I do all the catering. I prep and cook on Sundays and Thursday.”

The kitchen is a very busy place, and the dining rooms are a main attraction for residents’ not just for food, but socially. So, Jeremy often pulls six-day weeks, with holidays like Passover even more time consuming, he said.

In his spare time, Jeremy plays golf. “My grandparents lived on a golf course in Florida, but I never golfed a day in my life until I moved out here. And now I play three days a week.

“This place is great. I like working here. I’m a mentor. I help everybody here; that’s who I am. It’s very family-oriented, and I feel like I’m hanging out with my grandparents.


Steve Rallison

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Introducing Our New Board Chair

Steve Rallison sits next to Cedar Sinai Park Executive Assistant Angela Deverell developing a new calendaring system for board communications. He has just left Executive Director Kimberly Fuson’s office after a meeting regarding the structure and frequency of board get-togethers. Up next is a briefing with Human Resource Director Geneva Dougal about staff hiring and retention.

And that was just July 1—the first day Steve officially became Cedar Sinai Park’s new board chair.

“I am at the stage of life where I can choose my passions and projects,” said Steve.

Lucky for Cedar Sinai Park that the longtime senior services organization is both to Steve, who founded Performance Improvement Resources 18 years ago, a company specializing in strategic positioning, governance, and operational issues for healthcare organizations.

“I’ve spent my career leading hospitals, working with physicians and practices, and I consider spaces where major life events happen to be sacred,” said Steve, 72. “I feel that way about Cedar Sinai Park, which has existed for an amazing 102 years. It’s my honor and privilege to serve as chair of the board of trustees.”

Steve believes Cedar Sinai Park is at an important juncture with great opportunity.

“It’s not without risks, though,” he said, “especially with Covid not yet in the rearview mirror, but we can create a sustainable, competitive Cedar Sinai Park. We must look forward and move forward.”

“My beautiful wife, Sharon Stern, is Jewish, and I always say ‘a good Mormon boy meets a good Jewish girl,’” said Steve with a chuckle. “The rest is magic. We have great unity in loving God and our neighbors. The 10 commandments are a guide to all of us, not just those in the Jewish faith.

“And the fifth commandment of loving our fathers and mothers is one I take very seriously. It’s deeply engrained in me. I’ve studied it. I think about it. And I try to live my life to those commitments.

“I believe that we are here on earth to bear one another’s burdens. We are here to mourn with those who mourn and we are here to comfort one another and to rejoice with one another.”

The fifth commandment of loving our fathers and mothers is one I take very seriously.

Steve was born in Utah, and moved to Oregon as a young boy in 1957. He has a bachelor of science in sociology from Brigham Young University, and a master’s of health administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

His 30-plus years of healthcare experience include leading large hospitals in Illinois and Michigan, leading a large multispecialty group practice in Minnesota, and consulting throughout the United States.

“I have gone into some exceedingly difficult situations where key people have died or there have been embezzlements or other cases where organizations have lost their way financially or strategically and no one knows what to do,” said the becalming Steve. “I come in and get things settled down and then get everyone focused and aligned so the organization can move forward.”

That background is how Steve believes he can help Cedar Sinai Park.

“Cedar Sinai Park is unique in today’s world where most assisted living and long-term care homes are owned and operated by for-profit corporate entities whose headquarters dictate what and how things are done. What a great tribute it is to the Jewish community of Portland for its continued support to get us this far! But we cannot be stuck in the wonderful events of the past to move forward.

“We want Cedar Sinai Park to become the preferred place for people and families who need the services we offer; the light on the hill, if you will. We are guided by the fifth commandment to honor our parents and also the commandment to love our neighbors, and we have the found of our Jewish legacy and the desire and will to be a leader in delivering senior services that are unparalleled in the Portland area.

Cedar Sinai Park is unique in today’s world where most assisted living and long-term care homes are owned and operated by for-profit corporate entities whose headquarters dictate what and how things are done.

To become that preferred place, Steve said steps must be taken to improve financial stability and sustainability. “Our priorities are to find and retain staff, improve occupancy, improve data, make strategic forward-thinking decision, and build a culture of community. We have the staff and management to make this happen.”

Steve believes the culture of community, especially, is key for a vibrant future for the organization.

“When you look at the changing world and not just the change in demographics, it’s how we are all aging and what we expect out of our aging experience. None of us want to be institutionalized. We all want to have the opportunity to express ourselves, and to continue achieving our life goals. We want to feel connected, be known, and feel part of a community.

“What we have to do is create a culture that is so welcoming that it validates who you are and what you want to accomplish at this stage of your life. We aren’t going to compete with other places that may have shiny buildings or amenities. But we can be a place people choose because of the meaningful interconnections made with the staff, the families, and everybody in the community.”

Steve and Sharon have 14 grandchildren, nine in Israel. They are avid hikers and bikers and like to take road trips with “binoculars, bird guides, and bird watching apps” on their phones. Steve also likes to garden and harvests fruit and vegetables for his neighbors. He consults occasionally, but most of the time he is engaged in interfaith activities. He is also on the board of Black Men IN Training.

“I am committed, on behalf of the board of trustees, that we will put forward our best efforts as stewards of Cedar Sinai Park to work closely with management team staff, residents, and families to move us forward in the coming fiscal year,” said Steve. “I hope that our community will engage with us to be part of the culture of community as future board members, as residents, volunteers, donors, or friends of Cedar Sinai Park. We welcome everyone’s voice and involvement.

“We are all in charge of the destiny of Cedar Sinai Park.”

PCC Students Benefiting from Cedar Sinai Park Partnership

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

When Portland Community College (PCC) student Richana McManus was looking for an internship in gerontology, Cedar Sinai Park was her first choice.

“I heard Nancy [Heckler] speaking about Cedar Sinai Park’s Adult Day Services program and I was almost salivating,” said McManus, who describes herself as a middle-aged woman looking for a career to suit her skills. “I knew from day one that I wanted to work with people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia and I was in a deep search for an internship opportunity, so the information came from the right person at the right time.”

Richana is one of four PCC interns who volunteered in Adult Day Services this spring for their professional gerontology certificates. PCC students in the gerontology program are required to volunteer in a gerontology setting for at least 130 hours to graduate, said McManus.

The PCC and Cedar Sinai Park partnership began in 2011, said Heckler, who directs Adult Day Services.

“We have a long history of partnering with PCC students in the gerontology program,” said Nancy. “The four interns this spring were a great group. The partnership is a win-win endeavor for all of us.

“Our union with PCC is one of theoretical and practical knowledge. We need each other to grow, to learn, and to experience the complex and diverse ways of living together as we age.”

PCC Gerontology Instructor Michael Faber said Cedar Sinai Park is typically the internship of choice for many of his gerontology students. “We just love having our students there,” said Faber. “They get such a high-quality experience, and we know it’s a high-quality facility, and that the organization recognizes person-centered care, which is how we teach our students.

“It’s important to have the kind of education and training that a Cedar Sinai Park internship provides,” he said. “And working with staff like Nancy, in particular, who understands the mission of our program is incredible. Each intern is worked with individually, and is helped to discover and grow in their career development. Our students really get what they need. The internships are great, and we love them.”

McManus will be job hunting after winter term and said she greatly enjoyed the Cedar Sinai Park experience.

“I like the philosophy of staff in working with the group members who come here,” said McManus. “I like the attention to detail that they pay to what is comfortable for each individual, and the group as a whole. Every person who comes to the Adult Day Services program is known.

“We still ask them if they want coffee, even though we know the answers to those questions. It’s giving the group members an opportunity to interact and have agency. I really love that because every aspect of the program is designed for success for the people who participate,” she said.

“It’s very prevalent that people will write off a person with dementia. They think there’s ‘nobody home.’ And that isn’t the case at all. That’s what brought me to this work because someone’s `home’ in every heart.

“I have learned so much from being here.”

Barbie Enkelis: Retiring to Her Second Home

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

It is safe to say, Barbie Enkelis, 71, has never forgotten a birthday.

“Your birthday is May 14. Her birthday is December 16 and hers is January 9. Kathy’s is April 15. And Kimberly’s birthday is in June, the 24th,” she says, rapid-fire while visiting the executive offices of Cedar Sinai Park.*

For more than 28 years, Barbie has commemorated the birthdays of employees as the nonprofit’s Simcha Coordinator. She also remembers the room numbers in which people have lived, stayed, or worked. And she memorizes license plates, so when a car is parked illegally, Barbie is the one to find.

“I like numbers. I don’t know how I remember. My mom used to say she wishes I would remember other things like to go home on time,” said Barbie, with a laugh.

“Barbie is an institution,” said Community Life Director Jennifer Felberg. “She practically lives here. We love Barbie and we have to share her with her own family, so we tell her to go home.”

Given that Barbie’s home has been Robison since she was an infant, “it’s going to be very hard to walk away,” said Barbie. “I know it will be a tear jerker.”

Cedar Sinai Park is definitely a family affair for Barbie. Her mom and dad, Velma Zelda (Cissi) and Milt Carl, used to bring her to the Robison Home to visit her grandparents, Gussie and Nate Carl. Home lore has it that residents would rock little Barbie when she visited.

“She was a good girl,” said Harold Schnitzer Center for Living resident Joeen Rodinsky, whose family was friends with Barbie’s family. “Her family were lovely people.”

As Barbie grew up, her dad joined the Robison Home board (president in 1982 and 1983), with friends Henry Blauer and Leonard Barde, and Milt was instrumental in the fundraising for the construction of Rose Schnitzer Manor for independent and assisted living. Barbie’s sister, Pam, and her brother-in-law Stan Rotenberg were also deeply involved. Stan was president in 1987 and 1988.

“And then my dad talked me into working here,” said Barbie, whose first day was in 1993.

As an employee, Barbie regularly walks the hallways named for her father and his friends. “Everywhere I go, I see my dad,” she said.

Some of the residents now living at Cedar Sinai Park are either related to Barbie or knew her family members. “A few are like my parents—they still tell me what to do,” she said, laughing again.

Indeed, Barbie just wheeled one relative to an activity at Harold Schnitzer Center for Living, and another resident who she often escorts to the Goodman Living Room for recreation was Barbie’s southeast Portland neighbor growing up and attended high school with her.

“We have a joke going where he asks me what’s for dinner and I say that I’m cooking,” said Barbie. “Our family was never in our kitchen because we didn’t eat at home, so we both laugh at that one.

“Today would have been his dad’s birthday, too.”

Cissi stayed in the Home after surgery in 2010. Husband Mike’s aunt and uncle, Lois and Marvin Enkelis, were briefly at the Home in 2006 and 2009, respectively, and Mike’s grandmother, Rose Shnitka, was in memory care in the early 1980s. Son, Gary, volunteered at Robison and Rose Schnitzer Manor. Milt’s sister, Eva Walleston, lived at Rose Schnitzer in 2012. Stan’s mother, Vivian, lived in memory care in the late 1990s, and his father, Lou, was at Rose Schnitzer Manor in early 2000. And current chief executive officer Kimberly Fuson is Barbie’s cousin.

“Barbie, is there anyone you don’t know in the Jewish community?” she’s asked.

“No, there isn’t,” Joeen answers for Barbie. “And if she doesn’t know them, she knows someone who knows them. She remembers everyone.”

Over the years, Barbie has worked in Life Enrichment (previously activities) and as a receptionist. But her favorite activity remains Bingo, a game she never played as a child, never played at home with Mike or Gary, and only picked up in her forties as a Cedar Sinai Park employee.

“I love Bingo,” said Barbie, who often sports a Bingo mask and had the B-I-N-G-O song as a cell phone ringtone. “I’m going to miss it, especially when I know a Bingo Day is coming.”

Longtime volunteer Charles Jagger has known Barbie for more than 20 years. “I would think that we will have Barbie go on outings, and she will probably be volunteering when the residents visit restaurants. I have a feeling she will be back occasionally.”

Barbie asks about going to Washington Square.  “There isn’t enough time for us to have you go out to Washington Square!” said Charles.

“They said they would only take me one way,” said Barbie, with another chuckle. “I like to shop and they won’t let me go with them because I’ll be there all day.”

Barbie’s plan is to retire August 25. “That’s the anniversary of my dad’s death,” she said.

During Covid, Barbie worked from home, but would walk to the Home to peek in the windows to see what was happening because she was “going crazy” not being here.

“Every community needs someone like Barbie,” said Kimberly. “She is our heart and soul.”

In her new free time, Barbie says Mike wants to travel, perhaps a cruise. She intends to go shopping more. But she’ll be close by, for whatever happens. She wants to volunteer as a Bingo caller.

“I have three homes on this street,” said Barbie. “My home is number one, the Harold Schnitzer Center for Living/Robison Jewish Health Center is number two. And Rose Schnitzer Manor is number three.

“It’s time to go to home number one now.”

*Birth dates have been changed for privacy. But trust us, Barbie knew all of the exact dates by heart.

Dan Lipski

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Dan Lipski: Music to his Ears

In 2017, Dan Lipski was in the prime of his career as a concert tour manager.

Dan had just finished working with Joe Jonas, who had announced a concert break. He had recently made Oregon his home base, buying a house in Portland, and fixing it up comfortably.

Then his parents, Vicki and Doug, received a call that changed their life.

“When the phone rang on election night, we initially weren’t answering because we thought it was a belated call telling us to vote,” said Vicki. “But then we realized it was the American embassy in Washington, D.C.”

Dan, 32, had been hit by a bus in Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand. He was taken to a Chinese-run hospital “where he received excellent care,” said Vicki, and had brain surgery. Second and third brain surgeries were performed at an English-speaking hospital in Thailand.

“His injuries were severe,” said Vicki. “He was hit on the right side, and is hemiplegic on that side.”

Doug and Vicki spent five weeks in Thailand trying to get Dan stabilized and transferred to the United States. Dan was Medivac-ed to OHSU where he remained for a month, undergoing tests to see if more could be done for him, and rehabilitating.

“And then we were lucky enough to find Cedar Sinai Park and, believe me, finding a nursing home was a tall, tall order because of his age and physical challenges,” said Vicki.

“We tried every place,” she said. “We basically called everyone. Someone recommended Cedar Sinai Park and then we just happened to be in the area so we took a look.

“It’s such a lovely facility. Compared to what we had seen, this looked pretty terrific.”

It’s such a lovely facility. Compared to what we had seen, this looked pretty terrific.

Dan was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, and attended high school in Chicago. He didn’t play an instrument, but he adored music. At age 20, he began managing an Irish American punk band for free, sleeping in his car, to get his foot in the door of the business.

“He was very independent, and was at the age of trying to find himself,” said Vicki.

Dan worked for other bands such as 3OH!3 and Barenaked Ladies. He loved working for Joe Jonas, but wasn’t keen on taking a break from work when Joe decided on a rest.

“That was why he was in Thailand,” said Vicki, “because Shawn Mendes was playing there and he went there for a job interview because he wanted to keep working.”

“You like music, Dan?” he’s asked.

“Oh, my God!” said Dan.

“What kind of music? Heavy metal?!”

Dan just throws back his head and laughs. He said his favorite bands are Nirvana and Thrice. He likes Major Pain and often wears a DNCE hat. The walls in his room of the T. Robert and Mitzi Tobias Hall at Cedar Sinai Park are covered with music memorabilia and he frequently has music playing, or is watching a music video.

Dan has come a long way. He looks you in the eyes and reaches your soul.

“When Dan arrived here, he would only nod and shake his head. Every day, we worked on conversations so he has a voice, said Susie Willard, health information specialist. “Dan has come a long way. He looks you in the eyes and reaches your soul.”

Said Lupe Garcia, CNA: He’s such a sweet guy. He always appreciates what we do for him. He asks, ‘How do you say thank you in Spanish?’ He remembers my name. He knows where I’m from and he’s very happy that I know he likes coffee and bananas in the morning.

“I really care about him.”

In April, Willard and Community Life Director Jennifer Felberg took Dan to see singer LP.

“It was neat because his friends are all tour guys and they hadn’t had a chance to see him because they’re traveling all the time,” said Felberg. “His friends arranged for VIP status and showered him with attention.

“He got to be himself with his buddies, a lot of handshakes and dudes and he even drank a beer. It was a magical night and reminded me again of our mission.

“Dan could not say ‘thank you’ enough. It was nice to make the night happen for him.”

Dan is an avid reader and particularly enjoys the Jewish history books shared by former volunteer and board chair (1993-1994) Ruby Sachter, with whom he still Facetimes.

With four years at Cedar Sinai Park now, Vicki hopes that Dan will be willing and able at some point to use a wheelchair so he can go to a group foster home. Pain management is another issue.

Until then, Vicki said she feels welcome when she visits Dan every Tuesday.

“I feel like I can get Dan what he needs when he needs it,” she said.

“I love you, mom,” said Dan.

“I love you. See you next week. Bye, honey.”

Pete Brown

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Pete Brown: Singing to Entertain

It’s almost time for Pete Brown’s sing-a-long in Rose Schnitzer Manor’s Marcy’s Bar and the residents are already in their chairs waiting for the show to begin.

Even wearing a mask, Pete draws a crowd every time with his quiet, folksy manner and simple, singable song choices. Residents are encouraged to sing along to classics like Four Leaf Clover or Being a Pirate or This Land is Your Land.

“The residents love this activity,” said Fabiana Dal Cero, Life Enrichment activity manager.

Pete, almost 81, grew up in Denver, Colorado, and was encouraged by his high school teacher to pursue mathematics, at which he was determined to succeed. But he “didn’t do a lot of singing.”

He attended Dartmouth in New Hampshire, earning a bachelor of arts in math, and singing informally with friends while playing the ukulele. It was the early 1960’s and Dartmouth was all male and there were “all kinds of people who liked to play and sing.” Said Pete: “I was completely self-taught; music was just a hobby.”

Pete then attended a one-year graduate program at Harvard and received his master of arts in teaching. After graduate school, he taught high school math and coached gymnastics at an Evanston high school (to be closer to future wife, Janet Rabenstein, who was a year behind him in school and from Illinois), and then the couple returned to Dartmouth together where they had originally met on a blind date, and Pete worked in the admissions office.  They had two sons.

“I got more into music when we returned to Dartmouth and spent a lot of time playing hootenannies,” said Pete. “I carried a little book of songs in which I kept adding new ones.”

After seven years, Pete and Jan moved to Walla Walla where Pete was the associate dean of admissions and coached diving. The family stayed in Walla Walla for nine years and added another son and an adopted daughter from Korea.

“I loved the small college feel and the location,” said Pete. “We were avid skiers, and we played bridge. But I have to say that I’m most proud of raising four children.”

The Brown family spent nine years in Walla Walla and then moved to Lake Oswego, where Pete was director of admissions for Lewis & Clark College for seven years.

Moving to Moscow, Idaho, Pete was director of admissions and financial aid at the University of Idaho for several years until budget cuts ended the job.

At that point, he turned his childhood hobby of baseball card collecting into a business, buying a sports card store that he named Browns Cooperstown. After 10 years in Idaho, Pete moved the store to Seattle and was there for 25 years.

I’m most proud of raising four children.

When Jan began struggling with Parkinson’s, the pair moved to a Ballard senior living facility before investigating homes in Portland with more care.

“I had been hiring caregivers to come in 24 hours a day to help me care for my wife, but I realized that was not going to work in the long erm,” said Pete. “One of the reasons we came here was for Jan to get overnight nursing care. It was also important to me to be able to find a home where I could live with my wife.”

The older Brown sons lived in Portland and sent Pete brochures. Jan moved into the Tonkin household and Pete lived in an apartment in Rose Schnitzer Manor. Pete ate all his meals with Jan and volunteered to lead sing-a-longs at the Harold Schnitzer Center for Living while Jan lived there. She died in December 2019.

“She was extremely bright and so energetic,” remembers Pete.

And then the pandemic hit and music became an important outlet and connector. “I would open my apartment door and put on my face mask and go sing in the hallways with people sitting in the hallways to listen with their masks on,” said Pete. “Once we were on lockdown, Cathy [Zheutlin, spiritual life director] helped me record the songs so we could put them on the internal television channel.”

Now, Pete leads sing-a-longs in Marcy’s Bar one day a week. He still wears a mask; a small microphone is tied around his neck. And the residents come to listen and to follow along with their printed song sheets.

I think Cedar Sinai Park has been a good match for me.

In addition to Pete’s sons in Oregon, another son resides in Florida, and Pete’s daughter is in Seattle. Pete has six grandchildren and reads to four of them over Zoom one night a week at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time; right now, they’re tackling Pippi Longstocking. One of Pete’s Portland grandsons, Asa, delivered meals at Cedar Sinai Park in the summer of 2020.

“I’m happy here for the time being,” said Pete. “I thought the care my wife received was very good; it served our purpose.

“I think Cedar Sinai Park has been a good match for me.”


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