Slowing Down for Stories

Seniors from Lincoln Court share their life experience

Published online: Oct 04, 2021 Articles, Events, Lifestyle Emily FitzPatrick
Viewed 538 time(s)

Photos by Steve Smede

When the topic of senior living is discussed, the notion of slowing down is always brought up as something that is necessary for those aging. Though true, it is advice that the younger generation frequently ignores for a number of reasons, one of which is that those who run the fastest (both literally and figuratively) often see the greatest reward. However, there are important things that can be missed when we don’t take the opportunity to slow down, including the opportunity to hear the stories of local seniors. 

Idaho Falls hosts people from a wide variety of backgrounds, something which some locals lament as people from other states find the same joy that we do in some of our best kept secrets, such as beautiful landscapes, affordable living, family values, and so on. What many might not realize is that this same variety of backgrounds growing in Eastern Idaho exists in the population of our local seniors, many of whom have been through experiences similar to ours, allowing us to learn from their stories and improve our lives with their knowledge.

There is one catch though. In order to hear them, you must slow down. In doing so, you can gain some wisdom in return...While visiting Lincoln Court, Idaho Falls Magazine staff had the opportunity to speak with a few residents and gather a few examples of the amazing stories our seniors are ready to share with those ready to stop and listen. 


William “Bill” Miller 

Although Bill now calls Idaho Falls his home, he started his career as a teacher in Kansas before eventually moving to the Teton Valley to embark on a career in law enforcement. Beginning a career in that profession was much different in 1966 when Bill was first hired as a law enforcement ranger.

“I knew nothing about law enforcement,” Bill said. “They said they would train me. They gave me a patrol car and I had a couple of days of training and I stayed working as a law enforcement officer from that point forward.”

Despite his lack of experience, Bill would go on to become a key detective in the Teton Valley area, frequently working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Bill retired after working for 12 years as a detective to care for his wife who was battling Alzheimer’s at the time.

Bill’s wife passed away in 2016. They were together for 66 years. At the time he got married, his church was searching for agricultural missionaries in Kansas, where they worked together until he was offered his first teaching position. From there, they moved to California, which was suffering from a shortage of teachers. He eventually moved on to receive a master's degree in counseling, making him a true jack of all trades. To this day, however, being a detective remains his favorite career he explored.


Margaret Plastino

Born in Tooele City, Utah in 1917, Margaret Plastino’s family moved to Shelley when she was a little girl, making it the first place she can recall having memories of as a child. One of her favorite memories to recall about living in Shelley was celebrating the annual Spud Day where she always enjoyed the free baked potatoes and carnival.

At 103 years old, Margaret is the oldest living registered nurse in Idaho, a feat she acknowledges by saying she is “nothing special, just a retired nurse.” She has previously been recognized for the time she devoted to her patients by the American Nurses Association of Idaho and others. During her tenure, she worked as both a county and home health nurse, experiences she recalls with deep appreciation.

“I really liked being a nurse,” Margaret said. “It's a very hard profession, but it was rewarding and very worthwhile.”

Margaret now enjoys passing her time at Lincoln Court by reading and taking walks (or rides in her wheelchair) around the courtyard. Although she is rehabbing her foot from a recent  injury, she is still going strong and always looks forward to the opportunity to visit with or call her family who come from various corners of the West to visit her frequently. 


Duane Jones

One day Duane Jones was sorting potatoes with his uncle who invited him and his wife on a drive to Utah where they visited Utah State University. Duane recalls that it was a beautiful day with “guys walking with a book in one arm and a pretty girl on the other.” When asked by his uncle what was wrong with this picture, Duane replied, “We’re not in it.” From there the decision to dedicate himself to 8 years of study to become a veterinarian at Utah State University came naturally.

Part of that ease came with his natural joy in interacting with animals, which he showed off when he won the calf roping at the War Bonnet RoundUp here in Idaho Falls in 1958. An Idaho native from the Bone area, Duane participated largely in rodeos throughout the years and opened his own veterinary practice on Sunnyside Road, which is now owned by Mike Nield. Duane holds an array of fond memories from his time as a vet from working to save an award-winning parakeet to treating exotic animals at a wildlife center.

Duane is thrilled to see his legacy continue with his granddaughter, who was once set on becoming a cowgirl, but has now decided to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and become a veterinarian as well. 


For More Information 

Lincoln Court850 Lincoln Dr208-529-3456

www.tinyurl.com/mukm4ybk


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