James Dougherty grew up in Waukon, IA, and he and his wife, Lavonne, raised their five children there as well. James invested 34 years working for ‘Ma Bell’ while the phone company was bought out by other companies over the years, Jim stayed a faithful employee. Following his retirement from the phone company, he and his wife owned Spook Cave Campground near McGregor, IA. “We ran the campground for 14 years with our daughter,” says Jim. “I was the carpenter and plumber and most everything else. It was a good thing.”

James’ grandparents were from Ireland and he and Lavonne had the opportunity to travel to the ‘home country’ along with his brother and a couple of cousins. He said they stayed in castles, enjoyed the Irish food and entertainment and, “the provisions were excellent,” says Jim. When asked if he had inherited any of the so-called ‘Irish temper,’ he replied, “I came close!”

When asked if he liked Irish beer, he shared that on their way home from the trip to Ireland, they stopped between Freeport, IL, and Waukon for a beer. “My friend asked me how much the beer cost and I said I gave them a five-dollar bill and it wasn’t enough,” James said. “Thing was, I wasn’t even crazy about the beer!”

Today, James says he is comfortable at Aase Haugen and that with his therapy, he has been walking more. “The food gets better all the time,” says Jim. “And there’s enough activities to keep me occupied.”

Sláinte! Or cheers to you, our Irish James! We’re looking forward to celebrating your 97th birthday with you this November!

– James Dougherty, Resident at Aase Haugen