“Care” is Their Middle Name

Iowa’s Stuart Community Care Center is an exceptional community. My mother and five of my aunts spent their last months there–from just six weeks and two days to several years, among very loving employees who saw to their needs.

In 2011, Judy Neal Johannesen, the daughter of my Aunt Helen Neal, presented the facility with a poignant hand-lettered calligraphy artwork, which is still prominent at the end of their main hall.

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Standing: Patty (Wells) McKee, Audrey and Vince Wells, Judy Neal Johannesen presenting the calligraphy to a Care Center employee. Seated: Mary Jane McKee, Nadine (Neal) Shepherd, Betty (Neal) Wells, Helen (Cook) Neal.

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Article about Judy and her calligraphy business.

Nadine and Betty’s youngest sister, Marian Beaman, moved there in 2012. Also my mother, Doris Neal, in 2015.

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At a “cousin party” at Jacque Johnson’s Adel Quilting and Dry Goods in 2002: Helen Neal, Betty Wells, Doris Neal, Nadine Shepherd, and Marian Beaman.

Mom’s sister, my Aunt Darlene Scar, lived in the Willows section before moving into a nursing home room. So all six of these ladies were watched over at the “conscientious, diligent, efficient, effective, family-oriented” Stuart Community Care Center during the last months of their lives.

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Aunt Darlene Scar, 2016.

Not only are the employees of the Stuart Community Care Center kind and personable to the residents, visitors usually know more than one person living there, or know their family. Families are welcome to congregate in the dining area for birthday parties and reunions.

“Community” is one facet of their success. Their motto is another: “Care that comes from the heart.”

Cousin Judy recognized the them in a tangible and artistic way that residents, employees, and visitors can all enjoy.

Ruby Neal, mother of Betty, Nadine, and Marian–and mother-in-law of Doris Neal and Helen Neal, was also a resident there for several years.

Ruby Neal’s 93rd Birthday at the Stuart Care Center, 1991



  1. What a beautiful tribute to their loving care. And how wonderful for the family to be together–that stability over time.

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