Lynn VanDeHeede of Moline, IL, sent us this letter concerning her grandmother, Lucille Noack, who worked part-time at the Rock Island, IL, Hy-Vee until her death on Aug. 31:
Four years ago, my grandmother, at a vibrant age of 87, was finding less work as a local caterer and was looking for other employment opportunities. She came across an ad in the local paper that you were taking applications to hire additional employees to help out with your new, larger store.
Well, Grandma decided that this might just be the change of “career "that she was looking for, so she drove up to the store, picked up an application, turned it in, and waited for a call. A few days later, the call that she was waiting for came ringing on her rotary telephone. She had an interview!
She was so excited and shared with the family that this would be her very first interview in 87 years because all of her other job she was always referred to and never had to really apply. So she went to her interview and gave it her all. You must have seen in that little old German lady, who battled through the wars and Depression to make ends meet, that she would be a hard-working, dedicated, loyal employee with energy to spare, because you hired her and gave her a start in a new career.
For the next four years, she made her rounds starting in the pizza kitchen, passing out piping out samples (“one per customer, please” was her motto) and giving them the coupons of the day. She had different assignments throughout the years, and she never complained. She said that she was just happy to go in every day to see her "people."
Two weeks ago, on Aug. 18, we called my grandma to go to lunch. She declined our offer, because she had plans for the day, which included a shift at Hy-Vee. So we decided to come celebrate with her at her second home on her special day. We put together a special bouquet from the floral department at Hy-Vee, walked over to her station and sang “Happy Birthday.” As we were singing, she made sure that any passing customer was able to get the ad for the day, so they "wouldn't miss out on any specials."
She raved to us that day about how much she loved her job. Her position at Hy-Vee gave her a reason to get up every morning and go see her "people." She realized from your compassionate staff that you recognized in her what she already knew, that she still had so much to offer, despite being 91 years young.
Unfortunately, Grandma has worked her last shift, as she was taken from on us Friday morning at 4:15 am. I can't say enough, on behalf of my family, how thankful we are to all of you at the Rock Island Hy-Vee. Thank you to the management staff for believing in her and giving her the opportunity, and her colleagues who were so welcoming and kind to her. You all believed in a young lady of 87.
I know that the quality of life that she had for the last four years can strongly be attributed to the identity and worth that she received from being one of your helpful smiles in your first aisle. Thank you to all of the good people that call Rock Island Hy-Vee home for believing in our grandma, and for truly being a hometown hero to us. You truly give back to our community by valuing the life of all people, despite their age, by giving them an opportunity for employment, and purpose.
The picture attached is the one we took of her two weeks ago on her shift at Hy-Vee when we celebrated her birthday. And is the picture used in her obituary today, because it was a picture of her that really showed her happy.
Sincerely, and in gratitude, Lucille's grandkids: Lynn VanDeHeede, Teresa Slankard, Lara Hodge, Curt Tappendorf, Meghan Welch and Lucille's son, Jerry Tappendorf.
From Lucille’s obituary: She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Moline, and volunteered and worked for Moline American Legion Post 246. She lived on the Avenue of the Cities and was a good steward of the Avenue in helping to keep it clean. She was a die-hard Cubs fan and enjoyed playing cards with her friends.