Every day, Bob Rumsey has a talk with his boss.
“I talk to God every day,” the 91-year-old resident of Rittenhouse Village at Michigan City, says. “He tells me to shape up, so I guess I better shape up.”
It’s moments of humility and humor like these that have powered the former football coach and assistant principal at times.
He’s been a resident of Rittenhouse Village for about 1-½ years. His wife of 70 years passed away in 2013.
“After 70 years of marriage, when you lose your partner, it’s like losing a part of yourself,” Rumsey says. “After my wife died, my son and my daughter eventually said, ‘Dad, you can’t live here anymore’ and it turns out they were making the right choice.”
Rumsey moved into the assisted living facility at Michigan City, but found it nothing like he expected. Instead of someone dogging his heels day and night, he receives only the care he needs.
“I’m in assisted living, but I can take care of all my personal needs and go to the dining hall for lunch, breakfast, and supper,” Rumsey says. “They check in on me, but they are caring people and really good at what they do.”
It’s a bit of a role reversal for Rumsey, who says that the staff must truly care about people to do the jobs they do. After all, he spent 38 years in the public education system in Michigan City, teaching and coaching kids for the love of education.
“I came here as a teacher and assistant football coach in 1964 at Elston High School, although basketball was the real big thing here,” Rumsey says. “When the second high school, Rogers, opened up, I was athletic director there for about four years, and then I returned to Elston as the assistant principal. I had a great career. I look back at it, and it had some high points and some low points, but I hope I touched some kids’ lives.”
Rumsey and his wife had two children, a son and a daughter. His daughter lives in Michigan City and he keeps up with her regularly. His son recently retired himself after spending 37 years as a chemical engineer for Exxon-Mobil.
“We have two great kids. They really look after the old man,” he says. “It’s been a blessed life, and God has been good to me. Sometimes you get a little bit lonely, but I call that ‘Feel Sorry for Bob Day’ and I make sure and remember all the good things in my life.”
The transition from living on his own to inside a community of residents and caretakers was the toughest part for Rumsey to overcome.
“It was a big change. I sold my car and I gave up my home. My life changed so much starting when my wife died, and that was tough,” Rumsey said. “But it was for the best, and I mostly take care of my own needs. I use a walker, but hey, when you’re almost 92, things change. There’s a great chef, a great medical staff, the housekeeping staff is very kind, and it’s just a great place.”