45 Years: Gloria Magana

By Lin Lofley

Gloria Magana began working in the laundry at St. Paul Hospital 45 years ago, in a huge room on the lower level of the facility that ran industrial-size washing machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She’s still working there, although most of the washing machines are gone now, as the laundry operation was outsourced.

Gloria Magana
Gloria Magana

Fewer washing machines at what is now St. Paul University Hospital mean that fewer workers are needed. But Ms. Magana is still a valuable member of the staff who folds and loads linen for distribution throughout the hospital. The task remains the same, even if the fabrics Ms. Magana deals with have changed over the years from cotton to newer materials.

“All I’ve ever wanted was to do a good job,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed working here, and through the years my best friends were people I worked with here. After a while, you sort of feel like you know these people better than you know your own family.”

Ms. Magana came to the U.S. in 1955 from her hometown of San Miguel de Bustamante, Mexico. The current population is listed as fewer than 4,000 people, but she recalled that it was “smaller back then.”

She became a naturalized citizen in 1975, by which time she was well on her way to becoming a fixture at St. Paul.

“We had 63 people working in the laundry. We did the washing, the pressing, and folding, virtually all of it by hand. Now, all of that is contracted out and there are four of us here. We send the laundry out, accept delivery of the clean linens, and sort it for delivery.”

Ms. Magana has three children, two of whom were born at St. Paul, and four grandchildren.

She looks with anticipation toward the opening of the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital in late 2014.

“I see it every day when I come in, and it’s pretty amazing,” Ms. Magana said. “I can’t wait to see the laundry area.”

And, for someone who has done the laundry for hundreds of thousands of St. Paul patients over the years, it had to be asked: What laundry detergent do you use at home?

“I use All,” she said. “I don’t like the dyes and fragrances some of the other detergents use. All is just detergent, and it’s just what I like.”

Employee Recognition Program 2014

Long-term employees play an invaluable role in the life of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Their faithful, dedicated service has helped the institution become what it is today. In this special edition of Center Times, we showcase some of these employees and their varied interests.