At 90, Omaha man doesn't dwell on the past, he keeps on giving

Article Date: Jan 12, 2014

Joe Grier

By SUSAN SZALEWSKI
Catholic Voice

Joe Grier of St. Peter Parish in Omaha has 90 years behind him, but he looks ahead, keeping busy as a hospital volunteer. 

He takes a weekly exercise class and writes poetry. While in his 80s he took Spanish classes, so he can pray with Hispanic patients. He is part Cherokee and can say a Hail Mary in Lakota. Praying with people in their native tongues "is a really easy way to make friends," Joe said. 

One moment in Joe's life says a lot about him, said his son, Jim, a member of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha. 

About two years ago Joe left his Field Club neighborhood house - where he had lived nearly 50 years with his late wife, Millie, and where the couple raised their five children - for a retirement community in Omaha. As he and his father walked through the house one last time, Jim told his father he was sad to see him leave the house. 

Jim said his father looked at him and said, "'Well, what are we doing, looking forward or looking backward?'" 

"That comment resonated with me," Jim said, "about how you should live your life." 

And Joe, who retired from an Omaha insurance company's training department in 1987, said he shares that attitude with the patients he visits as a volunteer at Alegent Creighton Health's Creighton University Medical Center and Bergan Mercy Medical Center, and at Hospice House - The Josie Harper Residence. 


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