A Day In The Life: Jerome Hager

Jerome Hager. Photo courtesy of Jerome Hager
Jerome Hager. Photo courtesy of Jerome Hager

Name: Jerome S. Hager, affectionately known as “Grandma Jerome” or “Queen Mother” 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on a registered Holstein dairy farm 5 miles south east of Ellsworth, WI. My family went to the little Catholic Church a mile down the road. For first and second grade, I went to a one-room schoolhouse with 8 grades. Yes, we walked a bit over a mile to school and back. There were four students in my class. 

Where do you live?

Eight years ago, I moved from a home in Woodbury to a condo in Minneapolis North Loop. Life is so much more enjoyable when you can walk to many places (doctor, dentist, grocery store, restaurants, etc.). I learned this life lesson from my travels to one of my favorite destinations – Old Town, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Who do you live with?

I live alone and entertain myself in a variety of ways: cooking, bridge, international travels, family visits. I enjoy my life at home. 

What is your occupation?

I retired after 36 years at 3M Company, most recently spending several years as a global supply chain manager. I learned so much over the years dealing with people from all around the world. In addition, being chair of the GLBT+ group at 3M in the mid- to late 1990s was life changing. As chair, I was also on the 3M corporate diversity council. I still remember one of my most significant learnings from our diversity director (an amazing Black woman): “Jerome, you don’t understand. You are different. You actually look at me when you talk to me.” Nowadays I enjoy life via global adventure and cultural travels. “Grandma Jerome” became my nickname during my adventure travels as I was often the oldest person on the trips. Between travels, I enjoy cooking for my family and I love spending time with my grandchildren. 

Jerome Hager. Photo courtesy of Jerome Hager

When did you come out?

I was age 42 when I got so depressed that I had to figure my life out. My life was reborn with many new life lessons, but I still had so much to learn. 

How’d that go?

It was a major life challenge with a less than amicable divorce, and I had no support from my parents. I felt alone navigating this life change. Fortunately, the GLBT affinity group at 3M and friends I met while country western dancing at the old Town House helped me survive. Well, that and 20 years of therapy. 

When do you wake up?

When my body wakes me, as I do not set an alarm. I typically wake around 7 or 8, but it can vary from anywhere between 6 and 8:30 or so. 

Phone alarm or old school alarm?

Phone alarm, if needed, for travels or an early appointment. 

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Pick up my phone and go to the kitchen to make a coffee or latte. Breakfast is typically one of three options – a bell pepper and eggs cooked in bacon fat, cereal with a banana, or oatmeal with fruit. 

Coffee – Cream or no?

Most definitely coffee every day, black or with whole milk. 

How do you spend your commute?

I always lived close to work, so my commute was short. I thought commuting was a waste of my time. 

What do you nerd out for?

I am a liberal political junkie of sorts. With experiences working at 3M, I have a good insight into global trade issues, manufacturing sources of supply decision-making, etc. I also travel the world and talk with people along the way. It gives me a good foundation to understand political and social issues. 

What music have you been digging lately?

I am not big into music. I will play the music channels on Comcast: soft rock, 90s, or BMA (Black Music America, a Minneapolis-based station) 

Is your work space tidy or a hot mess?

My home and workspace are, and have always been, obsessively organized. 

What’s been your favorite job?

I enjoyed most of my jobs at 3M …one specific project that stands out as a favorite was to help set up a supply chain planning process for a manufacturing line in China with export to Asia. The people in China were open, respectful, and so very eager to learn. 

Favorite weeknight meal?

Roasted chicken and butternut squash. 

On a usual weeknight, you are doing what?

Watching Netflix and playing games on my phone or iPad, unless I am cooking for grandchildren. 

Photo courtesy of Jerome Hager

Bedtime?

When I get tired, typically 10:30 to 11:30 pm. 

Favorite weekend activity?

Cooking for family when we can get together, or playing bridge with friends. 

What are you most proud of, and why?

Oh, a tough one. I can’t limit it to one thing. I would summarize it as being nurturing and building friendships with all types of amazing people around the world.

• Parenting my two amazing strong daughters and nurturing my grandchildren.?

• Having friends locally and around the world encompassing all ethnici.es, ages, occupations, social statuses, etc. One can learn from all types of people.?

• Organizing CookboyzMSP, a monthly GLBT+ pot luck, for the last 21 years (CookboyzMSP?on Facebook). The CookboyzMSP group gave me the nickname “Queen Mother”.?

• Writing and publishing “Grandma Jerome’s Recipe Book” as a fundraiser for Avenues forYouth, a local homeless shelter for youth here in Minneapolis. I was told three copies of said book are in the US Pentagon as a softer way to show visible support for equality in the National Guard. I still have books available—make a donation and get an amazing recipe book by visiting https://give.avenuesforyouth.org/fundraiser/3119326 

Words of wisdom to share?

Take good care of yourself, you are the only one that can.”“Be fabulous, no matter what life throws at you.” Grandma Jerome 

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