‘I have 6 jobs:’ After 34 years teaching and coaching, Mary Blandino of West Allis hasn’t slowed down a bit

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Mary Blandino

WEST ALLIS -- Mary Blandino of West Allis has been retired from teaching for 15 years, but she's hardly sitting around relaxing. She's still teaching, including others who have retired.

"Since I retired I have six jobs," said Blandino.

Life clearly hasn't slowed down for Blandino in retirement.

"I teach at UWM in the Sport and Rec Department. I teach some classes at the Wisconsin Athletic Club. I coach volleyball yet, and I still referee high school sports," said Blandino.

Mary Blandino

This, after spending 34 years teaching physical education and coaching at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis. She said one job didn't seem like the right fit at first.

"A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to work at the retirement home and told her, 'Why would I want to do that?'" said Blandino.

Then, fate intervened.

Laura Wengler

"Our fitness director was on maternity leave. She said, 'Would you come in a couple of days a week?' So, I said, 'I'll do that.' I loved it," said Blandino.

Fifteen years later, she's still teaching at Eastcastle Place, a senior living center in Milwaukee.

"I do a water exercise. I do chair yoga. I do a balance and posture. We have stretch and tone," said Blandino.

Others there said she leads by example.

"Just as a coach, a mentor, as a peer for our residents here -- she is so inspiring," said Laura Wengler, director of community life.

Mary Blandino

"You need projects. You need things to do. You need things on your calendar, because sometimes it can get quite depressing. You can't do a lot of the things you used to do," said Jake Jacobson, resident.

Katy Phillips

"We look at her and we see someone that is fully engaged in every part of life, no matter what it is. So, in a way, it's inspiring that she thinks that this part of this age is just as important as being in seventh or eighth grade," said Katy Phillips, resident.

While inspiring others, she also benefits from the interactions with residents.

"I do think that some of us inspire her too, because we are older than she is. I think she looks at that and says, 'Ah, this is why I'm doing my job, because this is what I can be at 100,'" said Phillips.

Besides her jobs, Blandino also volunteers with Senior Olympics, Special Olympics and helps with a program that gets people dealing with blindness on skis.

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