By Mary Owen
Marcey Etzel is surely smiling down on the new Sublimity adult care home that carries her name.
“This is mom’s legacy of love,” said Larry Etzel, her son and owner of Marcey’s Place, where he believes seniors can live their lives in comfort and peace, “just like home.”
Marcey’s Place will be a senior adult foster home where “the true spirit of hospitality lives forever,” Etzel said.
“There wasn’t a person she didn’t like or who didn’t like her,” he said of his mother. “This is my chance to return the love that Mom shared.”
Marcey’s Place opened its doors in July, a fitting tribute to the woman who raised her six children with Christian values and an abundance of love.
“She was a caregiver to her mom and dad,” Erzel recalled. “She also took care of her brother-in-law when he had shingles. She was there to help everybody.”
Marcella “Marcey” Etzel passed away at age 83 on May 31, 2012, at the family farm on Fern Ridge Road, just east of Stayton, where she lived for more than 60 years. After raising her children with her husband, Al, she began a second career at NORPAC Foods that lasted for 22 years.
“She taught us how to work by taking us to the berry patches and bean fields when we were young,” said Etzel, a former U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves pilot and commercial pilot for Continental Airlines and US Airways.
Etzel returned home in 2005 to help Marcey with the farm. Three years later, his mother took ill with viral meningitis and never fully recovered.
Marcey Etzel loved to unwind in her garden, canning and freezing all of its bounty. She was famous for her dill pickles and her freezer jams. But at the center of her life was her relationship with God, and as a young mother, she led the family to recite the rosary almost every night after dinner. Her friends from St. Boniface Catholic Church were a huge part of her extended family, and that friendship extends now to guests at Marcey’s Place.
“This whole process has been a walk of faith,” Etzel said. “It all started after Mom came home from the hospital and continues today.”
To help with his mother’s care, Etzel hired Diane Hagar, whom he met through the Visiting Angel agency. Hagar was “truly a blessing,” he said, and is now the manager of Marcey’s Place.
“She has always been a member of our family,” Etzel said, smiling.
“He adopted me,” said Hagar with a chuckle.
“After eight months, I asked her if I ever opened an adult foster care home, would she manage it,” Etzel said. “After Mom died, I brought up the idea again.”
The idea took hold, and Marcey’s Place became a reality.
“Diane found the house on Craigslist,” Etzel said. “It had just been taken off the market after 18 months. It had never sold. This was God saying he wanted us to have this for a purpose.”
Etzel said the owners still wanted to sell, and his real estate agent, Jon Heuberger of Sundance Realty in Salem, offered to represent them both.
“Jon liked the idea of what we were doing and donated his commission,” Etzel said. “Truly God was in this.”
The “birthing” of Marcey’s Place took exactly nine months from Oct. 28 of last year to July 28, Etzel observed.
“And our first guest came to us on the 29th,” he said. “Another miracle is that my mom’s doctor, Dr. Claire King of Cascade Medical Clinic, has donated time to help us with delegations. These are procedures that have to be taught by a medical professional. She is going to be very instrumental in running this home.”
Marcey’s Place has five guest bedrooms, two caretaker bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a secluded back yard with a deck and plenty of produce thriving in the garden. Etzel also provides farm-fresh produce for the home, which Hagar loves to cook.
“They’ll always have good meals here,” she predicted.
Hagar has plenty of experience, having run her own retirement home in Montana for 12 years. She is joined by her husband, Luke, who takes care of the garden and house projects.
“We have room for four more guests,” Etzel said. “They must be mobile. And we try to incorporate folks into the daily living, such as setting the table or helping in other ways – if they want. We want to make this a place they’ll enjoy living.”
Marcey’s granddaughters, Katie Matheny and Heidi Etzel, created their own tributes to their grandmother by painting decorative murals on two walls of the house.
“This house is beautiful, but the real beauty here is the care, compassion and genuine love Diane has for the elderly,” Etzel said. “It’s a difficult transition from their own home to here, but Diane makes it easy.”
Etzel and the Hagars are looking forward to welcoming their next guests.
“We want to bring some of the gold back into their golden years,” Etzel said.
For information about Marcey’s Place, call the residence at 503-769-1313.