Cafeteria ‘Granny’ celebrates 50 years at Mayo Clinic in Mankato

Louise 'Granny' Hodapp
Louise 'Granny' Hodapp(KEYC News Now)
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 7:23 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Louise Hodapp is celebrating 50 years at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

She’s not a doctor or a nurse, but she’s a healer just the same. Most people call her “Granny.”

“I feel like I’m their grandma,” Hodapp said.

Hodapp has worked in the cafeteria since May 31, 1972.

Over the years, she’s served up much more than just breakfast and lunch.

She’s given countless gifts, like handmade blankets for new parents and outfits for dolls in the gift shop.

Plus, when the cafeteria still accepted cash, Hodapp would carry extra bills to help anyone who came up short.

She also makes the hospital feel more like home by bringing in her own decorations each season.

“It makes people feel good,” Hodapp mentioned. “They’ll come in and say ‘Oh my gosh, I just love that.’”

Hodapp’s coworker, Laura Nelson, said she’s one in a million.

“She just got me new shoes, because she knew how bad my feet hurt,” Nelson explained. “She has no idea the impact she has. When I asked her about some of her favorite memories, or the number of people she helped with change at the register over the years, she said thousands.”

Hodapp said her love for helping others came from her parents, who believed in the power of giving.

“We were brought up like that,” Hodapp stated. “The more you give, the happier you are I think.”

She’s also been on the flip side caring for her sick husband, who spent many years in hospitals.

“It’s sad when you’re really alone, and you’ve got somebody that is really, really sick and you have nobody to share it with,” Hodapp added.

Even at age 79, Hodapp has no plans to retire and leave the place — or the people — she loves.

“I can make people feel better when they’re having a bad day,” Hodapp mentioned. “I guess that’s God. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be here.”

A party for Hodapp will be held in the cafeteria on Friday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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