Wisdom of the Ages: Colleen Suminski


Colleen has been at Villa St. Francis for nearly 6 years. She’s 89 years young, and spoke to us with enthusiasm about her career, children, and how to pursue happiness.

What did you do for a living, Colleen?
“I went to nursing school at St. Cloud Hospital. I was a post-op nurse, at first, and then I went to school to learn psychiatry, and spent 20 years in psychiatry, [as a psychiatric nurse].”

“When I moved to Milwaukee, I worked at the VA Hospital. I loved the interaction with the patients. I think our aim [as nurses] was to make life easier for them, and to help bring the patients into reality, and help them accept life as it was. If I could do that, I always felt I had achieved something.”

Do you have a hobby?
“When I first came to Milwaukee, I didn’t do too much until my sister taught me how to bowl. In that effort, I met my husband. Once we got married, I was so busy with children, bowling was the last thing on my mind!”

“I’m a crocheter,” Colleen added. “I crochet mostly afghans, and I make shawls.”

What kind of advice would you give about being happy?
“Be kind to others,” she said. “No matter what it is you do, when you have been kind, you walk away with a feeling of being able to help somebody.”