Mom of Regions Hospital caps her career with a smile

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2012 - 11:07 PM

Doris Sackett started her hospital job at age 71. After seven decades of work, she's retiring.

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Doris Sackett, in front, “knows more people in the hospital than I do,” said daughter Linda Sackett Lundeen, rear, who has worked at Regions for 42 years.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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Doris Sackett, 94, has a unique recipe for longevity: clean living and a lot of bookkeeping. "If you stay in accounting, you live longer. Your mind works better," she says.

Who can argue? When she marked her last day of work Thursday with a party at Regions Hospital, she closed out a 70-plus year career spanning half a dozen employers, most of them in St. Paul and Roseville.

She was already 71 when her daughter Linda Sackett Lundeen, a medical technologist and researcher at Regions, asked whether she'd be interested in converting her department's punch cards into computer files. For Doris, that seemed like far more fun than putting her feet up and relaxing on the sofa.

"I'm too interested in what's going on," she said.

She's been with Regions ever since, working for Dr. Erhard Haus, a pathologist and researcher in chronobiology.

"She's helped with literature searches, graphics, participated in studies, keeping sample management," Haus said. "She was a very valuable member of the group."

For a lot of people at Regions who didn't necessarily know what Doris did, she was just "Mom" -- the twinkly lady with the friendly smile.

Linda, who has worked at Regions for 42 years, said of her mother: "She knows more people in the hospital than I do."

Doris has no specific plans for retirement, although she enjoys keeping things tidy at her Falcon Heights home and intends to keep going to the family's cottage on Birch Lake in central Minnesota.

Her secret to a long life, besides accounting? "I never smoked, and I never drank. I think some young people should get a little of that," she said. The only pills she took, she said, were vitamins.

After graduating in 1936 from Central High School in St. Paul, Doris entered the University of Minnesota to become a registered nurse. There was an oversupply of nurses, so she transferred to business school and took accounting instead.

Her first job, before the United States entered World War II, was in the Seattle shipyards where she kept books. Her family eventually moved back to St. Paul, where she and the nice-looking fellow across Dayton Avenue peered at each other through binoculars.

In 1942, she and Ken Sackett were married at his mother's house on Iglehart Avenue. He died in 2010 after 68 years of marriage.

When her husband went off to war, serving as an Army combat engineer in Europe, Doris worked in the business office at Montgomery Ward in the Midway district. After her husband returned home to manage a lumber firm on Lexington, she worked there for a few years and then became a longtime secretary and accountant at North Como Presbyterian Church in Roseville.

When that job ended, she joined Regions in 1989. She's retiring now because she's having some problems seeing. "It's a little hazy at times, and it takes me longer to do things," she said.

Her analytical skills, however, are as sharp as ever -- especially with regard to a local purple-clad football team she has been alternately cheering and bemoaning as a season-ticket holder since 1961.

Asked to sum up the reason for the Vikings' current place in the standings, she said: "The quarterback is having a lot of trouble, and the other team knows that [Adrian] Peterson will get the ball."

"I'm just hoping they make it to the end of the season," she added. "They need three wins."

Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035

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  • Doris Sackett talked with Dr. Erhard Haus and lab technician specialist Lynnette Savaloja at her retirement party and reception Thursday.

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