Jody Haybarker Retires from Schneider Manor After 20 Years

Jody Haybarker started working as the General Manager at Schneider Manor in 2001. Later this week she will retire after spending two decades working with residents. While starting a new chapter in life, she will remain active in the community alongside her husband, Kraig.

Schneider Manor is an independent living community for those 62 and older. The facility has just under 100 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Those who are interested in living in the complex are encouraged to plan ahead and apply early. There is a 10-12 year waiting list to become a resident. Applications are considered from current Lowell residents living within the Lowell Area Schools footprint.

More than 20 Years in the Making

Haybarker was raised in Lowell alongside three brothers and a sister about five miles north of town. Her parents also grew up in the Lowell community.

“I was familiar with Schneider Manor for years before I started working here,” says Haybarker. “My grandmother lived here, I used to clean her apartment.” Her husband was a flooring installer and worked at Schneider Manor for many years; she even helped install carpet in some of the apartments. 

She was approached to fill the manager position in what she calls “perfect timing”. The store where she was working was going to be closing and the new offer was one she couldn’t pass up. Throughout the years one of the hardest things for Haybarker has been dealing with the turnover of residents. She says it’s easy to get attached and hard when someone passes away or needs to move into a nursing home. 

Many things have changed over the two decades Haybarker has worked at Schneider Manor. She recalls that bookkeeping was done on ledger sheets in the beginning and now everything is done electronically. 

“The grounds and the buildings are in pristine condition. This comes from Jody being very detailed & diligent following a well-defined maintenance schedule,” comments Board member Liz Baker. “Over the years we have worked hard to create policies & procedures making Schneider Manor an even more desirable place to live.”

Will Be Missed By Many

The role of General Manager does not only entail keeping the books, overseeing programming, following policies and procedures, and making sure residents are taken care of. Perhaps the most important aspect of the job is listening. Haybarker has heard countless stories from residents who often seek a listening ear and advice. She has provided guidance over the years to those who have have come and gone. She has been a constant in the office and someone residents could count on.

“Her leadership, as well as compassion, has helped the little village thrive and grow,” says Board member Jim Hodges of Haybarker. Baker also has praise adding, “She is always there, residents and board members could count on her organizational skills, loyalty and her overwhelming passion & kindness for Schneider Manor.”

Haybarker took her interactions with residents seriously. She became an extension of family for many. “Jody has a gift of creating unique relationships with the residents at Schneider Manor.  The residents always counted on her to answer questions and make them feel comfortable,” comments Board member Rick Seese.

Looking Toward Retirement

Haybarker is looking forward to spending more time with her three grandchildren and volunteering at Flat River Outreach Ministries after she no longer has a day job. 

The Haybarkers have a workshop in their garage (and not just because of their other role in several communities every November and December) where they work on taking things apart and making something new. In retirement, there will be more time to seek out estate sales to purchase furniture and other items to repurpose. 

While November 5th will be her last day working at Schneider Manor, it’s also the start of the busy season preparing to take on another familiar role in the community. “In December I will be busy being Mrs. Claus and making sure Santa gets out the door on time,” she comments. 

Jody Haybarker (l) and Terra Bieneman (r) have been working together during a transition period.

Passing the Torch

Taking Haybarker’s place at Schneider Manor will be Terra Bieneman, who is already familiar with working with senior neighbors as the Lowell Senior Neighbors Coordinator. Bieneman will take on both roles. 

During a conversation between the two, Haybarker mentioned she was retiring and asked Bieneman if she wanted her job. Having some familiarity with the facility and some of its residents, it felt like a good fit. “I love working with the seniors in our Lowell Community and thought this would be a great way to work with even more of them!” she remarks, saying if she didn’t apply and try she might wonder about a missed opportunity.

The two women have been working together for the past several weeks transitioning with Haybarker leaving Bieneman a notebook full of procedures. “Terra is doing a great job. She is very engaging with the residents; they seem to really like her,” states Haybarker.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the residents better at Schneider Manor,” comments Bieneman. “I love learning people’s stories and I look forward to learning more about them and for them to get to know me as well.” She also says she feels like she’s getting to know 85 new friends right now, which can be fun and exciting as well as scary and intimidating at the same time.

Not Goodbye but See You Later

Haybarker will continue on in the community as she heads into retirement. She will surely be missed by the residents of Schneider Manor and those she has touched while she has worked there. She’ll remain active in the community so while heading into retirement, she’ll still be around.

Bieneman describes Haybarker as being caring and compassionate with a heart for the Lowell community. “I would like to congratulate Jody on her retirement from Schneider Manor after 20 years managing the community! I have big shoes to fill as she has done an amazing job here for the residents who are like family to her.”

And finally, Haybarker concludes with, “I have enjoyed working at Schneider Manor, I take great pride and ownership in this complex. I will miss being here daily and will especially [miss] the people I work with and the residents.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.