Chances are, if you are from the Fort Dodge area, you know the name John Zuerrer. A native of the area, John has come to know many people through his previous jobs, involvement in community boards and groups, and other social activities. Today, he continues to stay involved both on and off Friendship Haven’s campus.
Following a rushed quadruple bypass and eventual COPD diagnosis, John knew it was time to make a move to Friendship Haven. “I just woke up one morning and decided it was time to move to Friendship Haven,” John stated. Already familiar with the campus, as his grandmother, aunts, and uncles had all been residents, John just needed to convince his sister that it was the right move. “She was a bit hesitant at first, but after she came and toured the buildings, she approved,” John mentioned. He continued, “I moved into my home in 2013, and it’s the best move I’ve made in my entire life.” Having lived in a traditional home with the bedrooms upstairs, John wanted a home with only one level. The Friendship Haven townhomes were a perfect fit for him.
After making a few additions of his own, including a garden shed, sidewalk and three-season porch, John feels very comfortable in his humble abode. “I have a magnificent view out my picture window. The nature here is beautiful. Some days I see deer, other days I see wild turkeys, and there are birds galore!” John explained.
When not on campus or out and about in Fort Dodge, John is most likely traveling to watch his favorite sports team or to see new sights around the globe. Throughout his home, it is obvious where his loyalty lies, as Iowa Hawkeye gear adorns nearly every room. An avid Hawkeye fan, he has held season football tickets for 43 years. Fulfilling his passion of travel, he recently returned from an international trip through Friendship Haven’s travel club. “We traveled to London, Ireland, Scotland, Paris and Normandy. I was humbled to witness the sight of the Normandy beaches where our brave soldiers risked their lives. I was also able to see my own grandfather’s hometown of Coleraine, Ireland. All around, it was a spectacular trip,” John reminisced.
Besides traveling, John also has a passion for music. Following high school, he attended two years at Iowa Central Community College and went on to study at Buena Vista University, majoring in Business Administration and Music. He decided to stay an extra semester in order to receive his teaching certificate in both areas. Upon graduation, he taught music for K-8 at Sacred Heart School in Fort Dodge. Upon consolidation, John sought another path and held multiple positions at various Fort Dodge businesses throughout his working career. During this time, he remained active in the arts, singing for many funerals and wedding ceremonies. “To date, I have sung at 731 funerals and 142 weddings. My time of singing may be coming to an end shortly, because my motto is to always end on a high note,” John said.
Keeping that motto in mind, John is enjoying everything that life has to offer at Friendship Haven. He participates in the choir, is a life enrichment team member, and is on the advisory board for the townhomes, among other things. “Friendship Haven is a city within the city of Fort Dodge,” he proclaimed. “There are endless amenities and activities here, and I’m happy to be part of it,” he continued.
Very proud of the wonderful community he belongs to at Friendship Haven, John strives to keep it that way. “One thing that touches my heart the most is the Legends Tailgate event. I strongly support this event since the money raised goes towards the Good Samaritan Fund. This means that nobody will be turned down or kicked out if they run out of money, and residents will continue to get the same care and treatment. That alone speaks volumes about the character that makes up Friendship Haven,” he remarked.
If you know one thing about John Zuerrer, it’s that he doesn’t know a stranger, especially with all he is involved in. Whether it be on Friendship Haven’s campus, throughout Iowa, or across the world, it is apparent that John is living his life on a high note.