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Volunteering keeps Pincumbe sharp, busy, and satisfied

Published on Monday, April 08, 2019

Sweet and tenacious are two words that do not always go hand in hand when used to describe the same person. Yet they fit Janine Pincumbe, a longtime volunteer at McLaren Greater Lansing, to a T.

Pincumbe, 93, has been engaged in clerical volunteer work at the hospital since 1996. Those who work closely with her rave about how nice she is and how committed she is to doing things by the book when it comes to keeping up-to-date records about herself and her fellow volunteers who annually provide 25 different services to the hospital.

“She’s a sweetie,” said Deb Quinn, director of Volunteer Services since 2007. “She’s so committed and so dedicated to what she does.”

Susan Fiorillo, volunteer coordinator and gift shop manager, said Pincumbe is “very proud” of her record keeping and takes “a lot of pride in it.”

Pincumbe began volunteering for McLaren Greater Lansing after a nearly 40-year career as an advertising administrator for Beurman-Marshall, which was a direct mail advertising company in Lansing. That job required her to keep tabs on a variety of things when it came to promoting Cadillac as part of the company’s account with General Motors. Her duties in Volunteer Services involve tracking hours put in by the hospital’s 350 adult volunteers, as well as mailing monthly schedules to them, and sending out a bi-monthly newsletter.

“I enjoy keeping busy and volunteering keeps this going,” she said as she tapped her right temple with her right index finger. “Because I don’t want to lose it.”

Rita Murawski, Pincumbe’s daughter and oldest child, said her mom’s volunteer job is well suited for her, as it allows her to work at a desk and keep her mind active.

“She enjoys it tremendously and it gets her out of the house,” Murawski said. “She worked in an office for years and really enjoys that kind of work.”

Pincumbe, a Lansing resident, was encouraged to volunteer by Ruth Dexter, a friend and head of clerical volunteers at what was then called Ingham Regional Medical Center.

After working a handful of shifts in 1996, Pincumbe began volunteering in earnest the next year. She logged more than 400 hours in 1997 and has averaged nearly 700 hours annually since, typically working from 1:30 to 4:30 each afternoon, five days a week.

“She comes in every day,” Fiorillo said. “She’s just very special.”

Quinn added that Pincumbe “manages the office and she manages us. She’s like a second mother to Susan and me. She keeps us in line.”

Pincumbe began volunteering after her husband, Clarence, passed away in 1995 after suffering a heart attack.

Clarence was involved in many community organizations while he was alive, and his generosity made an impact on Janine, who also supports the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation.

Janine and Clarence met toward the end of World War II when she was living in her native Belgium and he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Janine, who spoke French as her first language, was taking classes to become more fluent in English when German forces that had occupied Belgium since May of 1940 began to retreat eastward in the latter half of 1944 as Allied troops advanced toward the Belgium capital of Brussels. She soon landed a job as a switchboard operator with the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps, with whom Clarence was deployed. They dated for about six months before getting married in Belgium in 1945 and moving to the Bay City area in Michigan in the summer of ‘46.

They weren’t there long as Clarence soon began classes at what is now Michigan State University and Rita was born in October.

Janine’s mother, Ida Roche, moved from Belgium to live with Janine and her family in the early 1950s. With Ida able to help care for Rita, Janine began working for Beurman-Marshall in 1951, and continued there after giving birth to her son, Mark, in 1953.

Janine garnered a lot of satisfaction from that job and she experiences a similar sense of accomplishment through her volunteer work at McLaren Greater Lansing.

“I like helping Deb and Susan,” she said. “They have so much to do and I’m glad I’m able to do some things so they don’t have to worry about them.”

For more information about volunteering at McLaren Greater Lansing, please call (517) 975-6900 or click here.

If you would like to learn more about the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation, or are interested in supporting the hospital, please call (517) 975-7100, email mglfoundation@mclaren.org, or visit mclaren.org/lansingfoundation.