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GENERATIONS OF CARING
The Wessell Family has dedicated over 78 years of caring to the greater Oberlin Community. Welcome Nursing Home was founded in 1945 by Henry and Thelma “Joy” Wessell. The former Worchester Farm Homestead opened its doors as Welcome Nursing Home on May 1st, 1945. Joy and Henry Wessell ran the facility until they retired in 1965. Their eldest son Don then began his career as the facilities administrator following a stint in the US Air Force during the Berlin Crisis. His wife Theo (nee Brouse) joined Welcome Nursing Home in 1967 as the Director of Nursing. Together they devoted the next 36 years of their lives to providing residents the best quality of care. They graciously raised their four daughters in a tradition of caring with the same value and passion for long term care that guided their own successful careers. Today, Welcome Nursing Home is proudly run by the third generation: Wessell Generations, Inc. DBA Welcome Nursing Home. Jill, Kelly, Heidi and Meghan are dedicated to continue their parents well known motto “people helping people” every day.
How it all Began:
Henry Wessell was a foreman at the Colsen Company in Elyria while Joy Wessell cared for two elderly residents at their home on West Lorain Street in Oberlin. With a lot of faith, hard work and assistance from the Oberlin Lumber Yard, Henry prepared the Worchester Farm House for taking care of elderly residents. In the early years of operation, the entire Wessell family moved in. Joy and Henry had two young sons, Don who was seven and Dale who was five. While Henry managed the books, Joy prepared most of the meals and cared for the two residents with the help of one employee.
In 1950, the first of several additions was made which added eight beds, and by 1954 Welcome had become a 25 bed facility. Shortly thereafter, in 1957 a third addition eight more beds and Welcome became a 33 bed nursing facility.
Resident safety has always been at the forefront of our care plan. In 1957, Welcome set the standard for nursing homes across the state of Ohio by including a sprinkler system in the building. Don Wessell authored the sprinkler bill, which was finally passed into law in 1975 requiring all nursing homes in Ohio to install sprinkler systems in their buildings.
In 1968, Don and Theo embarked on their first addition together as a team and expanded the facility by 25 more beds. In 1982, they purchased Tressie's Nursing Home, a 19 bed intermediate Care Facility for Women from Don's Aunt Tressie (Lee) and Uncle Art Schmach. They ran the two facilities separately for eight years, but in 1990 with the additional purchase of 20 beds from Will-O-Lee Nursing Home, Don and Theo achieved their dream of owning and operating a 100 bed facility. At the time, 92 beds were dually certified Medicare / Medicaid and 8 beds were serviced as a Residential Care beds.
In 1997, an addition to the East side of the building allowed us to create 12 private rooms in the 300 hall. Don and Theo retired in December of 2000 and in 2001, with the third generation at the helm, 8 beds were purchased from Allen Medical Center and a subsequent addition was added to accommodate new Licensure Laws and create additional activities space with a temporary transitional kitchen for home discharge planning. In 2007, two beds were purchased from Wellington Manor and 2008 began with a small addition to the West side of the building. Welcome Nursing Home currently stands as a 108 bed dually certified skilled nursing facility. In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 World Wide Pandemic, it was decided to release 9 beds in order to accommodate an increased number of private rooms. Welcome today is a 99 bed dually certified skilled nursing facility.
Personal Bios & History
It is difficult to separate the biographies of Don and Theo Wessell. Although they held very different positions at Welcome Nursing Home, their lives, careers, successes and failures are intricately intertwined. Their vision and legacy are the one in the same: People Helping People. They both came from families dedicated to service above self, and they spent their lives instilling those vital values on their four daughters. Welcome Nursing Home and its subsidiary companies exist because of the dedication both Don and Theo have toward quality care. Their children are committed to continuing quality care services to the greater Oberlin Community.
President, Welcome Nursing Home, Inc.
Member, DTW, LLC
Member, DTW Rentals, LLC
Don has dedicated his life to serving the aging and disabled population in the greater Oberlin community. His mother, Thelma Joy, and father, Henry, were the original founders of Welcome Nursing Home in 1945, and the entrepreneurial visions of caring for the elderly did not stop with them. Don graduated from Oberlin High School in 1957. He pursued his business degree and graduated from Oberlin School of commerce 2 years later, and in 1971 he received his Nursing Home Administrators License.
Don bought the 33-bed nursing home in 1965 when his parents retired to Florida. Under the skilled direction of Don as the Administration and his wife Theo as the Director of Nursing the business grew to a 92-bed skilled facility with 8 additional rest home beds.
Don’s dedication to quality health care does not stop at the borders of Lorain County. He spent years of dedicated service as a member and later President of the Ohio Health Care Association as an advocate of change and improvement for our long-term care facilities across the state of Ohio. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the Educational Foundation for Ohio Health Care Association, and both Don and Theo Wessell have a named scholarship in their honor.
Although currently “retired”, Don is actively pursuing his dream to expand the level of care available to his community by pursuing the goal of creating Assisted Living and an active adult Independent Living Community.
Former Vice President, Welcome Nursing Home, Inc.
Former Member, DTW, LLC
Former Member, DTW Rentals, LLC
Theo was raised in a family dedicated to service. She graduated from Wellington High School in 1959 and Fairview Hospital in 1962 with her RN degree. Her sister Mary Jane Brouse Frey, RN, and her husband Bob Frey assisted Theo in her journey to become a nurse. She began her nursing career at the Queen of Angels hospital in California. In 1964 she accepted a RN Supervisors position at Allen Memorial Hospital in Oberlin. It was at Allen Memorial Hospital working with an amazing team: Dr. Jim and Jean Stephens, Dr. George Hoover, Dr. C.J. Cooley, Dr. Greiffenhagen, Marie Young and Dr. Feite Hofman where Theo was mentored in geriatric care.
She credits her mother, Florence Brouse, LPN, “the best nurse in the world”, with everything she learned about nursing, specifically how to assess and service the elderly with the love and respect they deserve.
Theo and Don were married June 5, 1965 and soon after she joined Welcome Nursing Home to begin her life as a geriatric nurse. She continued to service the greater Oberlin community by participating with Allen Memorial Hospital board for several years. Her passion for nursing and quality care has not been stifled since her retirement in 2001, and she continues to be committed to achieving higher standards by serving on the facility’s Quality Assurance Committee. She could not be more thrilled that her four daughters have dedicated their lives to continue the Wessell legacy “caring for the people at Welcome Nursing Home and their families.” Theo passed away November of 2019 and left a legacy of caregivers in her children and grandchildren.
President & Treasurer, Wessell Generations, Inc.
President & Treasurer, WGI Properties, LLC
Jill is a 1986 graduate of Oberlin High School. She attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree. With the encouragement of her professor Dr. Bowling, she pursued her Master's in Gerontology from Miami University of Ohio in 1991. She completed her Administrators license in 1992. She moved to the Dayton area and took a position as Assistant Executive Director for Osborn Enterprise. Her responsibilities for Osborn Enterprise involved One Lincoln Park, a 176 bed Independent Living Facility, and Lincoln Park Manor, which has a 60 bed nursing facility with a 14 bed distinct Medicare part and 30 Assisted Living beds.
In 1998, Jill had her first son, Andrew, and she and her husband decided it was time to consider moving back to the Cleveland area. At the same time, Don and Theo Wessell were exploring options for the future of the business and were thrilled at Jill's interest. She joined Welcome Nursing Home as the Administrator in 1999. Jill's dedication and devotion to quality care carried on the strong caring traditions set forth by her parents and grandparents.
Jill has followed in her parents footsteps in regards to community service as well. She is a past Chairman of the Allen Community Hospital Foundation Board, she is actively involved in the local chapter of Rotary and is a past President and current board member of the Ohio Health Care Association. She was recently appointed by Governor Mike DeWine to serve as a member of the licensing board for Nursing Home Administrators.
Vice President, Wessell Generations, Inc DBA Welcome Nursing Home
Vice President, WGI Properties, LLC
Heidi is a 1993 graduate of Oberlin High School. She attended Wittenberg University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1997. In 1998, she received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She began her career as a staff Occupational Therapist at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland Ohio. In 2000, she joined her parents and sister, Jill, at Welcome Nursing Home as the full time Occupational Therapist. In 2003 she assumed additional responsibilities as the Director of Rehabilitation and Director of Quality Improvement for the entire facility. Although she does not practice as a clinician at this time, she works closely with the rehabilitation, nursing, and other facility department teams to ensure the care provided at Welcome Nursing Home is outstanding. Heidi is dedicated to providing the excellent quality of service that Welcome's reputation has established.
Secretary, Wessell Generations, Inc
Secretary, WGI Properties, LLC
Kelly currently practices health law as an Associate Counsel for Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. Before accepting her position as an in-house counselor, she practiced health law in the private sector for 5 years representing hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory surgical centers and other health care providers. She has lectured on a variety of health care regulatory and reimbursement topics. Kelly received her B.A. Degree from Denison University and her J.D. Degree from Capital University Law School. Although she is not involved in the day to day operations of the facility she is a strong advocate for quality care and a wonderful resource in regards to regulatory compliance.
Assistant Secretary, Wessell Generations, Inc
Meghan is a 2001 Graduate of Ohio Northern University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in Musical Theater. After graduation she worked at Welcome Nursing Home for a year and a half before taking a 10 month sabbatical to join AmeriCorps *NCCC where she completed community service projects along west coast. Since her return from AmeriCorps, she has worked at Welcome Nursing Home as the Administrative Assistant. During that time she also attended classes at Ashland University in the Bachelors Plus program to attain a pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade teaching license, which she completed in the spring of 2007. Meghan is currently teaching Kindergarten for the Lorain City School District.