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Mary Timm came to Cedar Rapids in the 1960s as a young, 20-something looking to start her new life and new career as a school teacher. Outgoing and vivacious, she made a big impression on hundreds of children who spent a year in her fifth-grade classroom at either Squaw Creek or Pierce elementary schools.
“Mary loved to read, was very in tune with learning, and knew how to tell a story,” said her long-time friend and advocate, Robin Mixdorf. "If she came to you and said, ‘I have something to tell you,’ you knew you were going to sit back and be there about a half an hour.”
It was not long after retiring from teaching that Mary and Robin met. Robin, president of a retirement living community in Cedar Rapids, had posted a job for a part-time administrative assistant. Mary applied. Working side-by-side for nearly eight years, Mary asked Robin to become her healthcare advocate.
Having no family nearby, Mary Timm understood the importance of preparation. She knew that, if she wanted her wishes to become reality, she would need to have everything written down. And, while it wasn’t a task Mary accomplished in one afternoon, Mary made a difference in the lives of countless others because she did one thing. Early on, she made a plan for her finances, both for the present and after she passed away, and she made a plan for her end-of-life care.
Mary’s proactive steps in planning allowed Robin to help provide the care Mary needed at just the right times.
“There were often times Mary said, ‘I’m worried about my money,’” added Robin. “Because of her planning, I was able to call in her financial advisor and have him go over things with her. Those with dementia don’t hold on to reassurance well, but what it did was allow for her to not have that weight on her mind.”
After experiencing The Mercy Touch throughout her life, Mary knew she wanted to support Mercy’s work in the community. Unbeknownst to the Mercy Medical Center Foundation, Mary included Mercy in her estate plans. Mary chose to invest in Mercy’s future by giving a gift through her estate. The impact her donation has is immeasurable as it plays a role in helping guarantee Mercy’s future.
“It was sad to see how quickly dementia took her,” Robin said. “I remember this one particular time when the staff at Mercy gave her such excellent care during a challenging situation of her hallucinating. She was always so very impressed with the team of physicians who took care of her and worked for her.”
Beyond financial plans, Mary made decisions about her end-of-life care, helping those who cared for her in her final days be assured they were living out Mary’s wishes.
“Anytime an individual has a plan in place, it makes it easier on us as staff to help them,” said Colleen Mohr, Hospice nurse practitioner. "It allows us to help them focus on their care goals instead of having them do last-minute task work."
“It was exceptionally important that she made plans early,” said Robin. “It was so nice having people already lined up to take over for Mary.”
Mary knew Mercy for nearly 50 years and had seen and experienced amazing advances in healthcare. Above all, she knew one thing would remain in Mercy’s far-distant future: the compassionate care of The Mercy Touch. Mary chose to ensure its longevity through her estate plan. And, because of that, Mary’s legacy gift has an immeasurable impact as it plays an important role in ensuring Mercy’s commitment to care for the sick and enhance the health of our community continues to endure for generations to come.