We are proud of our Grace Barker family history, and our roots run deep in Warren, Rhode Island. Our late founder, Linda Machado, wrote this narrative explaining how she became a nurse and fulfilled her dream of owning a nursing home. Enjoy reading her own words, as follows:
“My name is Linda Machado and I was born in 1929 in the midst of the Great Depression. My parents were immigrants from the island of St. Michael, Azores. I came from a big family with eight children, three boys, and five girls. Two of my brothers served in World War II and the third served in the Korean War.
After I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My father and my stepmother (my mother died when I was 16) encouraged me to pursue a career in nursing; I decided to work at a local factory instead. After a few years of that, I took interest in what my father and stepmother had encouraged me to do, pursue a nursing career. We also had a neighbor and a family friend who guided me along this path. She was a registered nurse who worked as a community nurse in Warren, Rhode Island; her name was Grace Barker. Throughout my childhood, Grace Barker had always been someone whom I deeply respected and held in the highest regard. Her unselfishness and compassion in caring for people were unmatched by anyone I knew. My nursing career has been a reflection of her values.
I applied for a position at a local nursing home as a nurse’s aide in 1952; that was the beginning of a long and enriching career. In 1953 I applied to and was accepted into the Truesdale Hospital School of Nursing in Fall River, Massachusetts. In 1954 Grace Barker sadly passed away, and I was surprised to learn she had left me $1,000 to help with the cost of the nursing program.
After graduating from nursing school and working as a registered nurse in different capacities, I returned to the nursing home where I had worked as a nurse’s aide. It was under new management and I was saddened at what I saw; it was not the same place it had been before. I knew I could do better.
In 1960 I met my husband John who immigrated from the Azores to Canada and then into the United States. We have two children—John born in 1963 and Mary Beth born in 1965. It was during this period I began to dream about owning my own nursing home. With the help of family and friends, in December of 1966, we opened our nursing home and I could think of no better tribute than to name if after Grace Barker.
I had a wonderful experience during the years I ran the nursing home; now my daughter Mary Beth Lescault and my son-in-law Mark Lescault have that honor. They continue to run the business with the same personal commitment that Grace Barker and I felt.”
~ Linda Machado, Founder (1929 ~ 2003)