After 49 years of connecting with residents and their families at Vienna Nursing and Rehabilitation, entertaining people with costumes and playing an integral role as office manager, Sharon Linn will be retiring.

Vienna celebrated her many years of service on Wednesday with a luncheon of the many family, friends, and employees and residents — past and present — who support her.

Linn, was taking a break from college in the late 1960s in Lodi when her father told her either she had to go to school full time or get a job full-time, she said. She applied to a job at Vienna initially as a nurse’s aid. She was quickly hired in 1967 and only worked for a year and a half before she was offered a job as an office manager, by owner Ken Heffel. It was there she found the perfect fit.

“It’s been a great time all these years. She is very loyal, very dedicated and very trustworthy. I can’t say anything bad about Sharon,” Heffel said. “We’re going to miss her, but she won’t stay away totally.”

Although retired, Linn may drop by to fill in if needed, such as when her successor needs to go on maternity leave.

Linn very much enjoyed her time at the Vienna saying that she wouldn’t have stayed so long if it hadn’t been wonderful.

“It was a joy to work here, because Ken treats his employees so well it’s like a big family. The residents and families were wonderful too. I can’t complain,” she said.

In addition to supporting the inner workings of Vienna, Linn had a creative streak in coming up with Halloween outfits for their annual costume contest. Linn got involved because it was fun, she said.

Many photos of her previous costumes were on display, including a full-body gorilla suit, an old woman costume, and a rabbit.

At Vienna, Linn has been the sole person to receive two cars from the company for reaching 30 and then 40 years of service. At the first milestone of 25 years, the company gave her a grandfather clock. At 30 she got a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and by 40 years they handed her the keys to a Lexus.

Many people who filled the room received warm hugs and cheerful greetings from Linn as she connected with people she grew up with, people she worked with, and families she hadn’t seen in a while.

It was clear that she is loved for the person she is and the work she did at Vienna.

“We were lucky to have her. She was an integral part of this facility. She has a special way of connecting with patients and making them feel part of our family. We will miss her,” said Corey Wright, an administrator at Vienna.

Linn’s long-time friend from high school, Jeanette Felkins, added to the list of people who had nothing but praise for this retiree.

“She’s a very wonderful person. I’m very happy to know her and still be friends after all these years,” she said.

As Linn heads into retirement, she hopes to begin doing some traveling as well as crossing off items from her bucket list. She also looks forward to spending time with and watching her grandchildren.

“I have four grandchildren and one on the way, so I’m going to be busy doing that,” she said.

Contact reporter Christina Cornejo at christinac@lodinews.com.

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