BARNSDALL — Unless you’re somewhere upwards of 40, chances are you may never have been to Siggins Memorial Clinic without seeing Ronda Blake.
Blake, who recently retired from Siggins Memorial after 38 years, helped provide a certain stability to things, and Claud Rosendale, president of the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce, describes her as a beloved person in the community.
“Everybody knows her,” he said.
Blake explained that she had no experience as a registered medical assistant — the position she held — when she started. She had prior experience in the medical field as a histologic technician, preparing slides for a pathologist to read, using materials taken from patients during surgical procedures.
But the lasting memory she created at Siggins Memorial was all about connecting with the patients. Through the years she worked with about 19 different doctors at the clinic, give or take. She recalls the first one was Dr. Guy Merz.
“Working with the people, helping people, seeing good outcomes with treatment,” Blake said, when asked what she liked most about her job. There are many people in Barnsdall and surrounding areas who simply wouldn’t get the treatment they need if not for Siggins Memorial, she said.
So, what will Ronda Blake be doing now? Well, there’s that 21-month-old grandson, named Lincoln, she plans to give plenty of loving attention.
“He’s a lot of my life right now,” Blake said. Someone joked that she was going to take up hunting and fishing.
“Maybe fishing, but not hunting for sure,” she quickly shot back. She indicated it’s more likely she’ll take up some hobby activity.
“I like crafts,” Blake said. Then, recalling that she has a sister who enjoys painting, she turned her thoughts in that direction. “My sister paints; I might start painting with her.”
Blake said working at the clinic allowed her to meet and get to know many wonderful people she otherwise might not have met. It also allowed her to make lifelong friendships with co-workers. It’s the people she says she’ll miss the most.
“That was the hardest thing to do, was to leave them, but I plan to visit often,” Blake said.
It seems safe to say the patients may miss her just as much. Misty Farber, the Journal-Capital’s correspondent for Barnsdall, commented in a column that the clinic “will not be the same after so many years of seeing a familiar face when going to the doctor.”