In September 1971, at the young age of 17, Terry Abbott began his career at Salem Medical Center.
In December 2019, more than 48 years later, Abbott — now 66 years old — has decided to hang up his maintenance belt at SMC. He celebrated his retirement from the hospital on Dec. 26.
Abbott isn’t the only long-time employee to recently retire. Diane Permenter of Materials Management retired on Dec. 13 after 19 years at SMC, and Joe Comparri Sr. retired from his position as Radiological Technologist after 13 years.
Abbott started his career at SMC in the nursing department.
“I started out as an attendant,” he said. “I helped move patients onto stretchers. I was the muscle in the nursing department.”
Abbott continued as an attendant for nine years before an opportunity for growth arose.
“I took the position in maintenance because I wanted to move up in the ranks here,” he said.
For the next 39 years, Abbott worked in the hospital’s maintenance department, most recently tending to the facility’s boiler system.
“The steam from the boilers is used to sterilize all the tools and equipment used at the hospital,” he said.
Having been a part of SMC for nearly 50 years, Abbott has seen a lot of changes.
“It’s been interesting to watch the hospital grow through all the progress since the 1970s,” he said. “I’ve been here for most of it.”
But the most memorable part of the job has been the people he has encountered here.
“You make a lot of friends,” he said. “People come and go.”
One of those people made a big impression on Abbott. He met his wife while working as an attendant.
“She was a nurse,” he recalled fondly. “We started dating in 1978 and were together until she passed away in 2017.”
Abbott has enjoyed his time at SMC, noting that it’s close to home and he has always enjoyed the work.
“I like the challenge of the job,” he said.
Permenter’s favorite part of working at SMC was the family atmosphere.
“I liked my job and enjoyed the people I worked with,” she said. “We’re all family there.”
Permenter said the hospital provides a pleasant environment in which to work. So much so that she was on the fence about retiring when she did.
“It seems weird that I’m not there anymore, but I told everyone I’d be back to visit from time to time,” she said. “I’m soaking it all in right now.”
Abbott began enjoying his retirement on Dec. 27 and hasn’t decided yet what his future holds.
“I don’t have any plans right now except to take it easy,” he said.
Congratulations SMC retirees!