Not many people can say they’ve worked at the same place for 70 years, but Juana “Jenny” Cue — who just turned 100 years old on Wednesday — can.
Since 1953, Cue has worked at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, first in the linen processing department and later in the sterile processing department.
Cottage Health surprised Cue with a recognition event Wednesday afternoon to celebrate her retirement after 70 years, as well as her 100th birthday.
“When we think about the people who dedicate 10, 20, 30, 40, 70 years of service to Cottage and our community — that you really form the culture of the place and you make us who we are with that kind of longevity and commitment,” said Ron Werft, Cottage Health President and CEO.
Cue was born in Kansas on March 22, 1923, and now has three children, four grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, all of whom were born at Cottage Hospital.
“My mom (worked) one of the most humble positions in this hospital, but she worked it with pride,” her son, Ed Cue said.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters how you carry yourself. My mom carried herself as a very proud person.”
Cue’s daughter, Grace, said that the longest amount of time her mother ever took off work, besides during the COVID-19 pandemic, was probably when she had her son, Ed.
“Everybody was so kind,” Grace said. “This was her family. … She told me ‘They’ve already done everything for me.’”
Werft spoke of the running conversation that he and Cue have had since before a new wing in the hospital opened in 2012, joking that the little building on top of the hospital was going to be her penthouse.
Werft presented some gifts to Cue during Wednesday’s celebration, including a symbolic key to the “penthouse,” as well as an actual key to the building’s back door.
Cue was also awarded $3,000, a gift basket with multiple gift cards to local restaurants, and a collage of historical photos from the hospital that Cue was in.
“We are extremely grateful for Jenny,” Werft said. “She’s been an important part of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for more than half its 131-year history and has had a positive impact on countless patients. We are definitely going to miss her.”