Meet A Member

Meet the Dennings

Bob and Kathy Denning joined the LifeWorks Family in August 2011 after reading an article in the newspaper about our programs and various activities. Bob and Kathy are active participants of the Walking Program, also known as the Breakfast Bunch. They faithfully come to the Center daily to walk and socialize with friends old and new.

It didn’t take us long to discover that Kathy had a hidden talent in making beautiful Beach Glass jewelry and accessories. Kathy began working with Beach glass as a therapeutic activity after she was diagnosed with tremors. Bob and Kathy use a team approach, he finds the beach glass and she does the drilling, cleaning and assembling of the pieces. Kathy has her own side business: Beach Glass by Cass” .

Bob and Kathy began their journey as high school sweethearts but after High School they went in different directions, marrying other people.  Years later, after Kathy’s first husband passed away and Bob had been divorced, fate brought them back together when they were reunited at a Benefit Dance held at the National Guard Armory. Shortly after, Bob asked Kathy’s hand in marriage…and the rest, as they say, is history. Bob and Kathy have been married for 22 years. Together they have 7 children, 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. 

Kathy worked for St. Vincent’s for 10 years and Bob retired from GE after 35 years. Bob enjoys collecting movies; currently he has over 500 DVD’s. He also enjoys burning CD’s for family and friends of music that they enjoy at no charge to them. 

They both love music from the 50’s and 60’s and enjoy dancing. Truth be told, they have won many dance contests for their jitterbug moves on the floor. We wish Kathy and Bob many more years of health and prosperity.

Meet Mary Carlson

Mary Carlson

Although Mary Carlson retired in 1997 from the Erie VA Hospital, you won’t find her sitting idly at home. In addition to coming to the center for fitness classes, lectures and special events, Mary is also a teacher’s helper at Pfeiffer Burleigh School where the kids affectionately call her “Grandma.”

Mary is a retired nurse. She received her degree from Augustana Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois in 1958. In 1965, she earned her BSN from the State University of New York in Buffalo. In 1981, she received her MSN in Psychiatric Nursing from Kent State University School of Nursing and finally, in 1990, she earned her Certification as a Clinical Nurse Specialist from the American Nurses Association.

During her career, Mary worked for Edinboro State University as an Assistant Professor in Nursing, Warren State Hospital as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and from 1984 until her retirement in 1997, at the VA Medical Center as a therapist specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After retirement, Mary joined the faculty at Gannon University on a part-time basis. Mary has received past awards as a counselor in Stress Control. At the time of her retirement, she was awarded by the AMA as “Scholar of the Year” for her past research projects.

Mary has never married, although she shared that there was a very special love early on in her life, but he died in Vietnam. Mary contributes that life experience to her career paths which led to her role at the VA as a Post Traumatic Stress Counselor.

Mary is a member of Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church and writes their newsletter, “Heavenly Father.” Mary is interested in photography, creative arts and literature. Mary Carlson has been a member of LifeWorks Erie since October 2009. Most days, Mary can be found at the center enjoying lunch, participating in one of the fitness classes, or engaged in lively discussion with other center members.