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Family finds Corydon hotel ‘a wonderful place’ in times of need

A Florida family who was pleased with their stay at a Corydon hotel last fall during the death of a family member knew where to go when another relative became gravely ill and required their presence here.
Debbie Dokendorf of Zephyr Hills said her family had stayed at the Baymont Inn in September when her grandfather, Benjamin Bryson of Georgetown, died.
‘It was a nice hotel, and the people were so nice,’ she said. And there was the added bonus of a White Castle nearby, something not found in Florida.
Little did Dokendorf know that she’d be returning to Corydon a few months later.
Bryson’s widow, Loretta, fell Thanksgiving Day and had to have spinal surgery on Dec. 5. The surgery went well, Dokendorf said, and Loretta was moved to a rehab center in New Albany for therapy.
That left Loretta’s daughter, Susie Claywell, also of Zephyr Hills, caring for animals while staying at the old farmhouse that her parents, who had been married for 68 years, had shared. Dokendorf said her grandparents, who were in their mid-80s, ‘were set in their ways’ and had never modernized their home, which has a Buck Stove as its only source of heat.
Dokendorf had come back to Indiana for a short time, too, but she stayed at the Baymont again.
About a week before Christmas, Loretta’s family returned to Florida for the holidays but was summoned back to Southern Indiana on Christmas Day; Loretta had renal failure and was in the hospital in New Albany.
‘There was no doubt in my mind where we were going to stay,’ Dokendorf said. And she insisted that her mother stay with her at the hotel this time.
The Florida woman said the Baymont staff remembered her from her previous stays.
When the hospital told the family that Loretta would have to be moved to a nursing facility, they were at a loss. Hospice was called in to assist the family. Dokendorf and her mother were talking about what to do when Barbara Hart, who sets up breakfasts at Baymont, tried to help by providing names of nurses she knows. Then the idea came: move Bryson to Baymont.
Dokendorf talked with hotel general manager Vicki Paalz. ‘I told her I just wanted to bring a bed and Grandma,’ she said.
Paalz did more than say Bryson could be brought to the hotel; she offered a suite at ‘an excellent rate’ that gave the family more of a ‘home setting,’ Dokendorf said. ‘I just broke down and hugged her.’
Bryson moved in Jan. 10 and died six days later.
Baymont staff, as well as members of Highland Baptist Church in Georgetown where the Brysons had attended, did all they could to make Loretta’s family stay as pleasant as possible.
‘We met some wonderful people,’ Dokendorf said. ‘I can’t say enough about them,’ from the cleaning staff to the front desk workers, those who brought food, the Rev. Larry Joyce, Hospice case worker Stan Mudd, Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon and others. ‘I couldn’t have done it without them.
‘My grandmother’s last days were so much easier on her and us,’ she said.
Dokendorf received a package after returning to her home in Florida. It was a Bible and purse that had been left in the hotel suite. Included was a note that said the Baymont staff was thinking of her. And with the death certificate, Lou Ann Royse sent a note to Claywell in hopes of helping her with her grief.
‘Corydon may be a small community,’ Dokendorf said, but the concern and care she and her family received while here ‘renews my faith and spirit in the world.
‘It’s a wonderful place.’