Roland (Rollie) and Suzanne (Sue) Krueger married in 1961. They raised three children together. Rollie began his career as a teacher and high school principal in Spencer, Wisconsin, and later moved to a school in Lomira, Wisconsin while Sue substituted in several school districts in the area. Rollie ended his career as district administrator at a small school in Granton, Wisconsin.
In 1990, after serving as the school administrator, Rollie retired but immediately went back to work for two more years as a telecommunications coordinator for several schools. He was involved in the development of the first telecommunications network, in which online courses not offered in the schools were made available to the students.
Roland was highly regarded by members of the Wisconsin Senate. Upon retirement, he received a citation for his “dedication and improvement of the small school for the betterment of students and faculty.”
They both lived a very active and full life together. Traveling, camping, biking, and cross-country skiing were among the many activities they did as a family and together. Traveling to Germany, San Francisco, Canada, San Antonio, Texas, Seattle, the Badlands and Las Vegas were some of the highlights of their travels together.
Cultural programs, theater, dancing, and concerts were also activities they enjoyed. They served as docents in a local museum and helped with the displays as well. “We were music lovers and involved in the church choir,” Sue said. “Rollie also sang in the local Men’s Chorus.” Today, Sue still has a love of singing. She performs with Shorewood’s choir.
Sue said she knew something was different when Rollie didn’t want to go out and care for their garden. And when he would tend to the garden, he wouldn’t remember to put the tools away. Sue said he also lost interest in many of the things he used to enjoy.
They moved from Wisconsin to Shorewood in 2013 to be closer to one of their sons who lives in Byron, Minnesota. She said, “I had a door alarm put on our apartment door because he started wandering.” He also experienced hallucinations. And, in 2015, Rollie’s decline made it difficult for Sue to manage him and keep him safe. Shorewood didn’t have any vacant apartments in the Reflections Memory Care neighborhood, so she chose to move him to Cottagewood.
“Rollie seems content at Cottagewood,” Sue said. “He is mostly congenial and settled in. I try to visit him every other day, and I take him to his clinic appointments.” She says when they are together, they like to color. “Rollie does very well with intricately designed artwork. It keeps him preoccupied for about 30 minutes.” She says they also do puzzles together. She brings the 30 to 40 piece puzzles and creates the border for him. “He likes to fill in the rest,” Sue said.
Rollie no longer knows his family and often believes his son is his twin brother who passed away. Sue says she understands he is still a person, but not the same one she married. “I have no regrets,” Sue said. “We had a wonderful life together. We made memories I will cherish for a lifetime.”
She said, “It’s very hard to see someone so intelligent become someone who is no longer with it.” Her family is very supportive as well as everyone at Shorewood. She even finds solace in attending monthly Alzheimer’s support meetings held at Shorewood by the Memory Care Coordinator, Laurie Campion.
Sue said, “The best advice I received was not to feel guilty about sending him to a Memory Care unit at Cottagewood.” She understands it’s not her fault. “When Rollie began the decline,” Sue said, “he was very open with me. He didn’t want me to care for him for the rest of his life.”
Sue is still very active and healthy living at Shorewood. She is a friend to many residents and helps the staff by volunteering for numerous events and activities.