Oaklawn says farewell to longtime friend and co-worker Frank Walmer

Employees at Oaklawn Hospital are mourning the loss of a longtime friend and co-worker – Frank Walmer of Olivet, who died Nov. 14.

Walmer, 75, was employed at Oaklawn Hospital for 30 years, and during his tenure touched the lives of his co-workers in varied ways.

“Frank was well known around the hospital as he went out of his way to know everyone by name,” said his supervisor, John Miller, Oaklawn’s director of plant operations.

“He either built something, painted, hung, repaired, plowed, raked, or mowed almost every square foot of Oaklawn – along with turning off the lights on your department when you just needed that break in the action,” said Sherry Boyd, Oaklawn’s chief support and ancillary services officer.

Walmer joined Oaklawn in 1982 as a utility employee, and he worked chiefly in housekeeping. In that capacity, he stripped and waxed floors, painted and did yard work. In the late 1980s, he was promoted to maintenance technician, and his primary role was to care for the heating system.

In 1988, Oaklawn honored Walmer as the hospital’s Employee of the Year.

“His signature was to flicker the lights as he walked by a room,” Miller said. “He was always in a positive, happy mood, bringing cheer to everyone around him.”

Walmer had been battling cancer for many years, but “always kept in good spirits,” Miller said.

After his recent retirement, Walmer primarily assisted with finishes, departmental moves, and hanging pictures, Miller said.

On Nov. 12, hospital CEO Rob Covert visited Walmer’s home to present him with his 30-year pin and to express how much the “Oaklawn family” cared for him, Boyd said.

A Celebration of Life was to be held 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Baxter Funeral & Cremation Service, 375 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek. For additional details, call (269) 788-9800 or visit www.baxterfuneral.com.

The family has asked that memorial tributes to Walmer be made to Oaklawn Hospice.

“Frank looked forward to his birthday every year and often could convince others he had multiple birthdays so he could get more of his favorite cake – chocolate cake with chocolate frosting,” Miller said.  

“One of my sons had the opportunity to work with Frank the past couple of years,” said Boyd, “and I think he summed up how all of Plant Operations feels right now. 

“He told me: ‘Mom, just remember all the wonderful things he has done for the hospital, and how long he has battled cancer, he's tired and he's ready to go to a better place. Just make sure you tell him in some way or form how much he was a part of the family of Oaklawn Hospital.’”

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