Volunteer Week featuring Mary Kathryn
By: Whitney Prather
For the last 10 months, Mary Kathryn Wyler has been offering companion-style visits to patients of Absolute Hospice twice a week. She spends time with them in the way of reading, reminiscing, and listening. She enjoys them, and they enjoy her.
“This is rewarding - my patient’s actually become my friends and they teach me lessons. For instance, one patient, didn’t talk much. So I observed things about her. I noticed that she had Cleveland Browns memorabilia around her room. When I began talking about the Kardiac Kids - a time where [the team] was exciting and thrilling and each game was down to the wire, her ears perked up. My patients remind me to be flexible. You never know what the day is going to hold. I have to work around temperaments, sleep schedules, staff schedules and activities,” said Mary Kathryn.
"My patient’s actually become my friends."
Mary Kathryn's first hospice experience was with her father when she became his caregiver. During that time the seed was planted. From an early age until now, volunteering has been a way of life.
Editor’s Note: Meeting Mary Kathryn was a complete delight. As cute as a button, she smiles and two dimples grace her face. She walks briskly with two canes to get where she’s going. During our lunch meeting she broke out her iPhone to share a photo (accompanied by a story, of course) of her great-grandson. Immediately, it became apparent why those who come into contact with her love her so much. Over the course of our time together she shared so many beautiful stories about herself, her life and family. I was astonished to learn that when she taught special education classes at McKinley High School, she worked with my grandmother, Annie Simon, a business teacher. My grandma had nothing but lovely things to say about her. Since we’ve met, she received a special honor from Altercare of Nobles Pond in honor of Volunteer Week, because although she’s a hospice volunteer, she fills such a special role for that facility as well.
Interesting Facts about Mary Kathryn:
- She goes by Kathy and grew up in Adrian, MI. She attended Adrian College where she met her husband, John Wyler. In 1963, they moved back to John’s hometown - Canton, OH where they would both have lengthy careers within the Canton City School system.
- John, Mary Kathryn's late husband, used to tease her that he only dated her because she could type. She typed all of his papers for him in college. She used to operate the mimeograph. (For those born after 1985, a mimeograph was a way to make copies.)
- Her and husband started dating in the Fall of 1956. They married in the Spring of 1959, and had three children.
- She hoped to be an elementary teacher. During college, she worked as a page at the county library - her role was to repair library books. Her duties were to remove the book jacket cover, repair text block, mend torn pages, reattach loose pages, repair the case and book spine.