Forest View Nursing Home Resident in Itasca, James Alfred Logan, Celebrates His 101st Birthday
Nursing homes are much more than a home for those needing skilled care or rehabilitation services. They are a repository of amazing life stories. At Forest View Nursing & Rehabilitation Center resident James Alfred Logan has recently achieved a centenarian-plus birthday milestone few people can claim.
Yet, if it weren’t for an ironic twist of fate, Jim wouldn’t have reached his 21st birthday, much less his 101st.
As a young man growing up in Chicago, Jim was an avid roller derby skater belonging to a neighborhood skating club that enjoyed touring. He was scheduled to make a long distance bus trip with his skating buddies heading for St. Louis. However, there was only one small glitch. He arrived at the departure point without his skates. In a panic, he scrambled back home as fast as he could to retrieve them only to find out upon returning the bus had already pulled away without him.
Now, this is where life can get mysterious…upset though he was about being left behind, another fate awaited that bus full of his friends.
On March 24, 1937 – just a few days later, 21 of those roller derby skaters and support personnel were killed when that chartered bus blew a tire careening 40 mph downhill, colliding first with a bridge abutment, then rolling onto its side and bursting into flames. The passengers were trapped inside with few survivors.
“I’ll never forget it,” Jim said shaking his head. “I lost all my friends that day.”
A lifetime of one hundred and one years is filled with many ups and downs. Highlights include purchasing his first car for $500 – a Model “T” to watching astronaut, Neil Armstrong, walking on the moon. But his favorite personal memory by far was meeting his future wife, Lorraine, on a Chicago street car. Although they worked at different companies, they shared a daily commute that put them on the same street car before and after work each day.
Before long, you might say, the rest is history leading to 71 rewarding years of marriage. In time, they celebrated the births of their two children, Bob and June. Jim supported them by driving a delivery truck for a local lumber yard.
As a young family, they enjoyed fishing trips to Minnesota and later with his wife, hiking through local forest preserves. Today his trips are aboard the Forest View bus heading off to local casinos where he tries his luck with the slot machines – his favorite or to the Itasca Senior Club. He also enjoys visits with his family.
He and his wife, Lorraine, resided together at Forest View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center from about 2004 until her death at age 92 two years ago.
“Life here is good,” he said with a smile and a nod to his daughter sitting next to him. “You might say the staff really spoils me -- they’re a great group of people. And, I want to add that the very best part of my life has been not only my marriage, but also having two wonderful children.”
Jim’s adult children -- Bob and June -- both reside in suburban Chicago with June in closer proximity – living only a few blocks away from the facility.
In the U.S. today, only 0.0173% Americans reaches the ripe old age of 100. However, statistics show this number is increasing to roughly one in 6,000 achieving their 100th birthday. Fifty years ago statistics showed only one person in 67,000 reached the century mark.
Forest View celebrates residents’ birthdays monthly, and Jim’s, along with other residents sharing a June birthday, celebrated together the last week of the month.
When the interview concluded, Jim raised his hand in a friendly wave saying, “See you next year,” while his daughter navigated his wheelchair out the door and off to lunch.
Forest View Admissions Director, Ola Roy, poses with Illinois
Senator, Tom Cullerton, at the recent Glendale Heights Senior Fair he hosts annually. She set up an information table at the fair introducing area seniors to the rehabilitation and skilled care services available at Forest View.