John was well known in his community; there were few places he could go that he did not run into a friend. That is not surprising, given John’s outgoing and social nature. John loved to show his friends the cowboy hat, belt buckle, western boots or riding gloves he had on for the day. John proudly displayed his cowboy spirit and that spirit ran deeper than his fancy duds. John enjoyed riding horses and won many awards in the Special Olympics Equestrian games. John excelled in equestrian events including barrel racing, cart driving and working with the mini horses. John also exhibited a cowboy’s courtesy and protective manner, proving all around to be a true cowboy at heart.
John social side was a shining star in LifeWorks Community Services Day Habilitation program. John loved attending Day Habilitation and did not want to miss a day; his staff had a difficult time convincing him to stay home when he was sick. Providing opportunities for John to go out into the community was an essential part of John’s service. John loved talking about where he had been and what he had done. Being such a people person, it was important for John to have time to socialize with his friends. Being part of LifeWorks’ Day Habilitation program provided John with a sense of self-worth and brought meaning and purpose to his day, providing opportunities to participate and be successful in activities outside of his home.
John lived at Webster Health Care, a large county home, for a number of years before moving to LifeWorks Community Services’ home called Oak Estate on December 3, 1997. John loved living at Oak. Living with three roommates gave John opportunities to express his personal style in a new way. He truly felt Oak was his home and regularly updated the décor with new cowboy memorabilia. When he was not riding horses, spending time with family and friends or attending social events in the community, John enjoyed sitting in his recliner in the living room and watching movies from his collection of John Wayne and Roy Rogers films.
Living at Oak gave John the opportunity to make meaningful decisions about his life and to participate in a wide range of activities of his choice. In 2012, supported by his family, John made the decision not to fight the cancer that was invading his lungs. John made his decision known to his family, doctors and support team. John wanted to remain living in his home. To support his decision, hospice care began working with John and his support team at Oak. It was important to John to continue living his life and attending the activities of his choice as long as he could. John continued to ride the DART bus, attend LifeWorks Day Habilitation program and go out for Friday night supper with his sweetheart as long as his body would allow him. When John no longer had the energy to leave Oak, he continued to make his wishes known that he wanted to remain in his home. With awake support of staff working in the home 24 hours a day, and hospice coming in as often as needed, John was able to remain in his home until a medical emergency took him to the Paula J. Baber Hospice Home in Fort Dodge on March 5, 2014, where he passed away on March 9, 2014.
John’s greatest enjoyment came in spending time with his girlfriend, roommates and especially his family. Even though he had limited verbal communication John was always able to express himself. John regularly visited with friends and family in person and on the phone. John enjoyed making others smile and had a wonderful sense of humor and positive outlook. Living at LifeWorks Community Services’ Oak home provided John with opportunities to make meaningful decisions in his life. John’s family supported John in his decisions and expressed appreciation for the opportunities and support John received from LifeWorks Community Services.