At her farewell party, Patty Croom (center) poses with members of the original DCRC team. From left to right: Teresa Renn, Service Access Manager; Jackie Bobbitt, retired in 2012; Patty Croom; Genese Newman, Director, DCRC; Karen Harris, Program Specialist; and Ella Gentry, retired May 2014.
Patricia “Patty” Croom first joined Duke in 1978 as an LPN in student health. Thirty-six years later, Croom has packed up her shingle and is preparing for a new adventure – retirement.
“In 1978 the Picken’s Building, now a part of DUHS, was home to student health,” remembered Croom, the married grandmother of three who has lived in Durham since 1977. “Back then, people smoked in the lobby and offices. Can you imagine? Times have certainly changed – and so much, for the better.”
Croom, whose official last day was Friday, June 27, has spent the past six years working as team lead for the Duke Consultation and Referral Center.
“I have loved my time here at Duke,” said Croom, one of approximately 3,700 Duke faculty and staff currently eligible to retire with benefits. “I have enjoyed helping patients navigate our oftentimes complex systems. It’s been rewarding to help match up medical needs to the appropriate physician or specialist. My co-workers have been the best; all are very caring and knowledgeable.”
According to experts, there are few key steps to experiencing an enjoyable retirement. They say when planning for retirement, it’s important to identify something that can be done almost daily. Suggestions include gardening, volunteering or taking on a new skill or hobby. Retirees are also encouraged to travel. After working for almost a lifetime, it’s time to explore the world even if that means day trips to surrounding towns never visited before. Experts also advise retirees to draft a bucket list of activities – things one may have always dreamed of doing but for which there never seemed enough time. While it is important to make plans, retirees should space out events and ideas; always have something special waiting in the wings. Lastly, enjoy the little things. Never has there been a better time in life to just stop and smell the roses.
Croom is prepared to take some time to enjoy the simpler things in life, beginning with family and friends. She isn’t at all concerned about experiencing any type of boredom in her retirement years. A lifelong animal lover, Croom will be increasing her volunteer efforts with the Animal Protection Society of Durham, an organization for which she has been supporting since the early 1990s.
“Patty is one of the original staff members here at the DCRC,” said Genese Newman, director of Duke Consultation and Referral Center. “She joined our original team in 1994 and has been here almost every day for 20 years, loving her work, coaching and training, serving as team lead, caring for patients and referring physicians and giving her very best to make their experiences accessing and navigating Duke the best it can be. She has had an indelible influence on us, her friends and colleagues, and we will be the ones left to figure out the ‘key steps to experiencing HER retirement.’ I wish Patty the very best. “
Patty, the DCI, its faculty and staff, thank you for your many years of dedicated service and wish you all the very best in your retirement.
To submit news of interest and special announcements, such as an upcoming retirement, please email Karen E. Butler, DCI eNews editor