On December 18, 2013, North Star lost one of our dear friends – Regina Sessler. Regina was 52 years old and was born in Waterloo, Iowa. She had received services from North Star for 25 years, first in the Employment Services program, and later in the Day Habilitation program. Regina had a terrific smile and a wonderful, infectious laugh. She enjoyed many of the activities with her friends at North Star, but exercise time was not her favorite. Many times Regina would do her walking very s-l-o-w-l-y.
In 2012, North Star produced a variety show, “Groovin’ through the Ages.” One of the skits in the show was the iconic chocolate factory scene from “I Love Lucy.” In it, Regina played a terrific Ethel Mertz, opposite her friend Tammy Reichert, who portrayed Lucy. Then, in the June 2013 musical production of “Peter Pan,” Regina whole-heartedly took on the role of a Baby Doll in the Darling children’s nursery.
Regina always had her earphones with her and if she wasn’t wearing them, she was carrying them with her. She loved photographs, key rings, and cat or dog pictures. Nearly every day, Regina would sit down and copy recipes and give them as letters to people. Her service coordinator, Merryl Turner, would receive one almost every day, and if Merryl was on vacation, she could count on returning to letters slipped under her office door. And, as Merryl relates, “It was very important to Regina to have a good day!”
We asked Regina’s North Star friends to share some of their memories. This is what they said:
- Jerry C. – She was a nice lady and I met her a long time ago. She was nice to do things with.
- Kylie P. – Sometimes when we were both in OES (employment services) I would help Regina. She was funny and great.
- Georgia D. – Regina always smiled.
- Jim N. – She went to Heaven and we miss her!
- Crissy G. – She liked to play UNO with her.
- Haley Fineran (staff member) – “One of my favorite memories is when we made up hot chocolate mugs. Regina had eaten all of her hot chocolate powder. When questioned, she denied having eaten it even though the evidence was all over her mouth!”
- Cheryl H. – She was my roommate and she loved pictures of people.
- Jeff H. – I liked to play UNO with her.
- Don G. – She was my friend and I liked to talk to her.
- Shirley Hagenstein (staff member) – “Hugs from Regina were pretty rare because she was worried about germs. In fact, she would keep a fabric softener sheet in her pocket to rub on her clothes if someone hugged her.”
- Lee R. – My friend.
- Tony B. – I liked her smile and her laugh.
- Tim F. – She liked me and she is in a good place.
- Kay A. – Regina liked all her friends and was a good friend to me.
- Eric B. – She liked to copy down recipes and came to North Star for a long time.
- Russ H. – She had a pretty positive attitude.
- Michael B. – Yes, she liked to write those recipes.
- Susan N. – I liked her and we would sit together and talk.
- Kate Fineran (staff member) – “When she painted a picture it always had green grass across the bottom and then a sun, and some clouds and then the words Home Sweet Home. I will also remember her dance moves and singing her favorite song, Karma Chameleon!”
- Becky Poe (staff member) – “I remember her laugh and when she really got going on a laughing streak!”
- Elizabeth L. – Regina always smiled.
- Janice S. – She was sweet and kind.
- Joe P. – She was funny.
- Wendy M. – She liked Wal-Mart.
- Brittany K. – I liked to help her with crafts.
- Pam W. – I liked it when she remembered my birthday
- James S. – She was my friend.
- Jodie Muller (staff member) – “I loved how her smile would completely light up her face! We will miss Regina, but we are thankful that we got to know her!”