The vision of a nursing home began with Pastor Dean Kilgust, Grace Lutheran Church, Pastor Clarence Solberg, Trinity Lutheran Church, and some of the members of their congregations. A fund was set up where gifts could be given towards building a nursing home and a board of directors and officers were elected as follows:
Hlmer Eliason – Ashwaubenon, Ray Fedler – Suring, Dr. John Goelz – Green Bay, Ray Johnson – Manitowoc, Pastor Dean Kilgust – Green Bay, Melvin Markwart – Sturgeon Bay, Harry Olson – Green Bay, Pastor Clarence Solberg – Green Bay, Pastor Gordon Thorpe – Escanaba, MI
The officers elected were:
Clarence Solberg – President, John Goelz – Vice President, Dean Kilgust – Secretary, Melvin Markwart – Treasurer
June Mecklenburg became the voluntary secretary of the fund raising drive in October of 1967. In 1967, Robert Jaecks was hired as administrator to assist in the building of the home and to administer it once it was occupied. June Mecklenburg was hired as his secretary in January, 1968. Robert Jaecks left Woodside as administrator on August 1, 1970 and June Mecklenburg was hired as administrator and received a letter of call to that position from the American Lutheran Church.
The site was chosen and purchased for $55,000. It consisted of 18.8 acres lying between Pilgrim Way on the South and Anderson Drive on the North. At that time it was a cornfield with a huge gravel pit in the center and a small area fenced off in the Southwest corner with grass and trees. Some of the trees are still there South of the Nursing Home and Manor I.
The architect, Berners and Schober Associates, designed the nursing home to be built into the south wall of the gravel pit with resident rooms at ground level on the South side. Because of the depth and size of the gravel pit, the central part of the home is a two-story building with the top story also being at ground level on the South and the lower story is at ground level on the North end.
Once the home was completed, the first resident moved in May 13, 1968. In a reasonably short time the home was fully occupied. The staff consisted of the Director of Nursing, Director of Food Service, Director of Housekeeping, Director of Activities, Maintenance Engineer and the employees in the various departments.
Woodside Oaks Independent Senior Living Apartments were added and opened in September of 1977.
The member churches and their individual members and the community have supported the home generously through financial gifts. Perhaps the most notable gift was from Albert and Teckla Hoppe. Mr. Hoppe died August 5, 1971 and in his Will created a trust to be used for his wife’s benefit during her lifetime. Upon her death the proceeds of the trust would be given to Woodside. Mrs. Hoppe died on October 29, 1979 and the trust consisting almost entirely of Fort Howard stock was transferred to the Home. This very generous gift enabled the home to secure financing for several additions and the renovation of the nursing home. Manor I (1988), Manor II (1990) and Manor III (1996) were built thanks to the Hoppe’s wonderful generosity.
Woodside Senior Communities Expansion to include Villa I Memory Care Assisted Living; Woodside Lutheran Home Rehabilitation and Therapy Center
A $15 million renovation was approved by the Woodside Board of Directors. Renovation projects included the addition of the Woodside Lutheran Home rehabilitation center and therapy gym and Mulberry Meadows Memory Care along with the Villa Memory Care Assisted Living residence.
In November 2020 during the COVID pandemic, Woodside Villa II memory care assisted living expansion opened to meet the growing need for dementia care in our community.