Growing up just a few miles away from the Gilfillan farm, Doris Neudecker lived the rural way of life.

“My dad was a farmer,” said Neudecker. “We actually lived on a farm that Gilfillan owned.”

Neudecker said she got to know the Gilfillan family well, adding they were very nice people.

Graduating from Redwood Falls High School in 1953, Neudecker never really moved all that far from her family and home.

After high school she got a job working at the local credit bureau and also worked at Tersteeg’s when it was downtown. Then Neudecker got married and began her life in a new community.

“We lived in Clements for 52 years,” said Neudecker.

The family initially purchased the produce market in town and later owned the local elevator.

“We lived in the old hotel,” said Neudecker.

There the Neudeckers started a family.

“We had five children” said Neudecker, adding after their third child they built a house in town.

It was in 2007 when Neudecker moved to Redwood Falls and moved into Lakeside Manor. She stayed there until 2013. That was when the fire happened at Lakeside.

For the next three years Neudecker lived at Redwood Lodge before finding another apartment at River Ridge. Then there was a fire there, and Neudecker said she moved back to Redwood Lodge before moving back to River Ridge.

“People ask me where I am going to live next,” Neudecker said with a smile.

Life during that period of time was stressful for Neudecker, but she found a place of respite in the Redwood Area Senior Center.

“It was after the fire at Lakeside that I got connected to the senior center through the Red Cross,” said Neudecker, adding she has been part of the local program ever since. “I really enjoy being here.”

She recommends it to others. 

Neudecker said there have been plenty of volunteer opportunities for her at the senior center, adding she has helped with everything from blood pressure checks to sitting at the desk and greeting people as they come.

Neudecker said she has enjoyed being able to use some of the medical skills she learned when she worked at St. John’s in Springfield from 1984-2006. Neudecker had earned her TMA certification through a technical school program in Springfield.

Being part of the senior center program provides Neudecker with things to do, she said. Neudecker said she often arrives early in the morning to help however she can, and then she takes her place at the door before people start coming to eat.

In the afternoon, she stays to play cards Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Many days Neudecker is at the senior center from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“It keeps me busy,” Neudecker said.

Yes, said Neudecker, she enjoys the food at the senior center, adding it comes from the Roadhouse in Wabasso.

Neudecker said she served for six years on the senior citizens association board and was part of the membership committee. She also volunteers on the grounds of Gilfillan during Farmfest and was a member of the local HRA during the time when Lakeside Manor was being remodeled after the fire.

“That was quite a project,” said Neudecker. “It really was a learning experience.”

Neudecker is proud to tell people she will be 85 in June, and this past fall was diagnosed with cancer. After having treatment, things seem to be going pretty well, Neudecker added.

Neudecker said she has enjoyed traveling over the years and has been able to visit her kids who live in five different states, including Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Florida and Oklahoma.

Neudecker believes that you get what you give, which is why she has dedicated so much of her life to helping people and volunteering. The senior center has been a place where she can do all of that. Neudecker encouraged people to come and check out the senior center.

“This is a great place,” Neudecker said.