CANTON — Phyllis Knox has decided it’s time to retire.

Knox, 84, of Peru has been employed at the Victorian Villa Rehabilitation & Living Center and nursing home for more than 33 years as a certified residential medication aide. On Friday, employees surprised her with a retirement party.

“Phyllis has trained most of the people in this room,” Administrator Mark Jacobs said.

He said Knox was the third-most senior employee at the facility, and the oldest.

Knox said she initially was a hairdresser but disliked the job. Once she had children, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom.

“Once I brought my kids up, I decided it was time to work,” Knox said.

During her time at Victorian Villa, Knox was a supervisor of the residential care unit.

“She always stays so calm,” said Shelly Harlow, residential care director. “She’s very dedicated, a great team player and has always been an advocate for the residents.”

Knox said she was amazed at how the profession and nursing care has changed over the years. She said one of the largest hurdles was learning to use a computer.

“I remember her telling me, ‘I don’t even know what a mouse is,'” Harlow said. “She worked her way through learning it, just like with everything else.”

Rosa Corson, a certified residential medication aide for 18 years, who has worked closely with Knox, said she cried on Knox’s last day of work.

“She’s just great with everybody,” Corson said.

In 2004, Knox received an award for excellence in long-term care from the Maine Health Care Association. She was one of 11 to receive the award that year.

She was nominated by her supervisors, who said she was a great role model for all employees and her care of patients gained her trust and respect from residents.

Knox said she had no plans for her retirement, other than spending time with family.

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