Mayor Burke opened Schato in February 1971Published 8:49am Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The photograph of Dowagiac Mayor Dr. James E. Burke cutting the ribbon Sunday for the 63-bed Schato Nursing Home on Colby Street published Wednesday, Feb. 24, 1971.
The $600,000 facility replaced the old I-Deal Nursing Home at the same location.
Taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Mrs. Kenneth Tozzer and Mrs. Wayne Schaffer, officers in the corporation operating the nursing home; Mrs. Barbara Burke; Mrs. Lucille Deal, operator of I-Deal Nursing Home; Kenneth Tozzer; city Assessor Richard A. Smith; Mrs. Faye Cooper, administrator of the new facility; and Wayne Schaffer.
Schaffer and Tozzer, whose names combined to make Schato, were president and vice president of the operating corporation.
In the Wednesday, May 20, 1970, Daily News a photograph appeared of the groundbreaking, in which Tozzer, Schaffer, Mrs. Deal and Eugene Lieber participated, along with City Manager Norman M. Gaffney and Mayor Burke, among other unidentified city officials.
Lieber was a patient at I-Deal Nursing Home.
The new nursing home was expected to be ready for occupancy Nov. 1, 1970.
An undated clipping about the 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday open house refers to 35 area residents already moved in and pictured Mary L. Bauschke, licensed practical nurse, going about her duties.
Schaffer-Tozzer was already looking ahead to renovation of part of the old nursing home for possible use for retired people in the near future.
“We are also very ready to expand the new facility to accommodate as many people as need the service in this area,” Schaffer said.
The new home features 24-hour nursing care, 31 semi-private rooms, physical and occupational therapy treatment and a dietitian in addition to a qualified staff of nursing personnel.
Schaffer said there would be “some 50 people” employed at the facility, some fulltime and some part-time.
In addition to Administrator Faye Cooper, Mrs. George Bartelson will be director of nurses at the home.
Schaffer’s construction firm from Kalamazoo constructed the all-masonry facility.
He and Kenneth Tozzer formed a corporation to run the home.
Schaffer is president, Tozzer is vice president, Marie Schaffer is secretary and Vivian Tozzer is treasurer.
The new facility has complete state approval and is a member of the Michigan Nursing Home Association. Schato replaced I-Deal Nursing Home. Construction started in June 1970 amid hopes to have it open that fall. But a combination of bad weather and construction problems delayed the opening.
“We’re sorry about the delay, but have nothing but praise for assistance we received from all local officials in getting the job done,” Schaffer said.