Arlington Cemetery Memorial Day

Memorial Day: Remembering Those Who Served

Richard Dzina
Richard Dzina

On Memorial Day, our nation honors and mourns the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This weekend, all of us at Manchester Living are also taking a moment to remember the veterans we have served over the past ten years. It was our privilege to help them enjoy the last years of their lives in dignity and comfort.

We remember veterans like Richard Dzina, who lived in one of our care homes until he passed away last November at the age of 89.   

As his obituary says, Richard’s life was “characterized by a selfless devotion to his family, a personality percolating with wit and charm, an exuberance best expressed in the company of family and friends, and an unwavering faith.”  His parents were both immigrants; from them he learned the values of hard work, self-reliance, and the sacrifice of one generation for the next.

After graduating from Princeton, Richard was drafted into the United States Army and proudly served the country that gave his family a fresh start. He and his wife, JoAnne, were together for 57 years. Richard enjoyed a successful career and was an active and devoted member of his church. 

The Right Care 

Toward the end of his life, as JoAnne and Richard’s health and cognition declined, their adult children searched carefully for the right care situation. The couple moved into independent living, then assisted living. Then it became apparent that they needed more care than the assisted living community offered.

“We wanted to find a place that could provide the care that we knew that they needed,” said David Dzina, Richard’s son. “When we came in to see them, we wanted to just enjoy having a conversation with our parents, rather than wondering what kind of care they were getting.” 

The family looked for a smaller facility that provided more extensive care. A Manchester Care Home was the right fit, and it was close to David’s home.  

One thing that made the process easier on the family: Richard had purchased a long-term care policy, which helped with the cost. 

David said, “Those conversations were great when we were reminding our parents, ‘Hey, you knew this was coming. You set this up for yourselves. You cared for yourself, loved each other well, knowing that you were going to need this. And that policy gave us the opportunity to afford great care for them in an amazing facility.” 

The Dzinas moved into their Manchester Care Home in early 2020. Sadly, JoAnne passed away in May 2020, during the height of the pandemic. With help from Sandi Levy, Director of Nursing, the family was able to organize an outdoor gathering to honor JoAnne. A pastor from their church led the service, and siblings joined via Zoom.  

“Sandi made all of that happen,” said David.  

Lives of Service

Richard remained at the care home after JoAnne’s passing. The family was comforted, knowing he would receive continued care from people who enjoyed being around him. David chuckles as he remembers his father calling the care home manager “Josef,” even though his name is Anthony. Nobody knows why.  

“When we visited, Dad was always smiling,” David recalled. “Always.” 

When Richard passed away in November, his obituary said, “Dick faced the end of his earthly days with quiet dignity and an abiding with, never complaining about declines in health or cognition, and enjoying with visitors a smuggled milkshake and a hearty chuckle.” Caregivers still miss him today.  

Richard’s story is special, but in some ways it’s typical of his generation. Their lives were lives of service. Many answered the call to serve in the military when the nation needed them. But all served in some way: raising their families, volunteering in their communities, and serving their faith communities.  

Comments are disabled.