State Fair Royalty

Posted by in Resident Spotlights, Community Spotlights.

Step inside the doors of The Reserve at North Dallas and Wanda (“Fernie”) Winter, the unofficial ambassador for this beautiful Senior Lifestyle community, may well be the first person to greet you. After just a few moments with Fernie, you’ll know you’re in the presence of royalty. 91 year-old Fernie, affectionately referred to as “The Queen” by her four daughters, is actually descended from royalty, but that’s not really her claim to fame. Her celebrity, like most things in Texas, is bigger than that; Fernie is known as the visionary who brought funnel cakes to the Texas State Fair.

According to the Texas State Historical Association, the Texas State Fair’s history reaches back to 1886, when a group of businessmen from the Dallas area chartered a private corporation. The fair officially opened in October of that year. In the early years, cattle sales, displays of farm machinery, and balloon ascents were highlights of the fair, as well as concerts and appearances by such celebrities as John Philip Sousa and Carry Nation. Prizes were also awarded for excellence in baking, preserving and needlework. In 1953, “Big Tex”, a 52 foot tall cowboy, took up residence in the center of the fairgrounds, overlooking guests and attractions.

Fern made her first official appearance at the Texas State Fair in 1969 when she and her husband took on work cooking at the fair to raise a little extra cash for a vacation fund. She had no intention of making it a habit, but she was hooked, and over the years her restaurant, “Doc’s” has become a staple at the fair. In 1980, after a visit to Branson, Missouri, Fern introduced funnel cakes to the Texas State Fair, and Fernie’s Funnel Cakes were an instant hit. Over the years, deep-fried goodies at Doc’s have won numerous awards at the fair, increasing Fern’s royal reputation. Fern still reigns, greeting patrons who come back annually to enjoy the food and the atmosphere. She runs the show, and her four daughters carry on the tradition.

In honor of the Texas State Fair as well as celebrity-in-residence Fern, the Reserve at North Dallas celebrated a Taste of the Texas State Fair last week with corn dogs, deep-fried brownie bites, and of course, funnel cakes. Sales Director Kris Raab notes, “Our culinary team is so great to work with; they re-created amazing “fair food” and it was a big hit!” Residents and team members also took a day trip to the Texas State Fair to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the fair in person on Friday, returning with tales of amazing food and attractions. Many are already looking forward to next year’s fair experience, sure to be bigger and better! To learn more about the activities at The Reserve at North Dallas, or to schedule a tour of this beautiful community, please visit our website at

The Philanthropy of Terry Peterson at Ashford Court

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

Terry Peterson’s adult children tell her (somewhat seriously) that they feel as if she is so busy that they need to make an appointment to see her. Terry came to Ashford Court eight years ago, moving in after a fall at home necessitated extra help with daily activities. Since being at Ashford, Terry feels that her family has grown to include her senior living friends. As for staying busy, her children will tell you that she’s always done that. 92-year-old Terry agrees that she has, in fact, had a very busy (and very interesting) life, and intends to keep it that way!

While these days Terry’s calendar is filled with activities like dancing and bingo, Terry was a real life “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II, working in a top-secret room in a defense plant. She attended USO dances when she could, listened to the big bands of the era, and even saw Frank Sinatra perform.

After the war ended, Terry found a career in real estate and land development, a passion she believes she inherited from her father Terry Parker, known in the local community as a top-notch businessman and a philanthropist. He left a legacy in the community by donating a sizable amount of land to build a school that now bears his name in appreciation for his gift to the county.

Terry Parker also gave his daughter a key piece of advice, which she took to heart as her career blossomed. Her father said, “You have to give back some of what you earn.” If you’re in Jacksonville Beach, you may see a tangible reminder of the legacy of philanthropy Terry’s father instilled in her, a Senior Bus which she donated to the Dial A Ride organization. The bus provides reliable, affordable transportation for local seniors, who see it as a blessing, and a means of retaining their independence.

Another piece of advice that was repeated to Terry often by her father: “Have patience.” She found it useful in her career as she made land transactions and met with various types of people from inside and outside her field. The advice has also proven to be valuable to Terry personally, especially after her fall at home. Rehabilitation in senior living after a fall can feel slow-going, especially for a person used to the fast pace; however, with patience and perseverance and a great therapy team, Terry can pursue the activities she enjoys at Ashford Court! Knowing her talent for staying busy, perhaps an appointment book may be a good idea after all!


Victoria Jordan knows the Key to Longevity

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

As Carriage Court of Kenwood resident Victoria Jordan approaches her 105th birthday, she reflects on the secrets of the trade behind living a long and meaningful life. When asked about the key to longevity, she simply states “I just go along . . . no one bothers me and I don’t bother anybody else” (or she jokes that it may be a matter of good genes). Whichever the answer, she continues to spend her time dressing impeccably and rocking in her favorite chair. Although she generally enjoys living in the present, Victoria takes a moment to look back on all the experiences that have lent a hand in shaping who she is now.

Born into a family of Italian immigrants, Victoria grew up understanding both English and Italian, though she confesses that she did not have much interest in practicing the latter. Primarily raised by her Italian grandmother after her mother passed away when she was a toddler, she recalls spending time with her sister, Harriett, and her brother, Rocco who she endearingly refers to as “Rocky.” Despite any cultural or linguistic differences, she and her siblings attended regular school with the other children in her area. Victoria recalls that her grandmother loved to cook and spend time taking care of her grandchildren, traits that would eventually become useful to Victoria herself.

Victoria explains that she eventually married a man who made a living as a tailor and settled down in Warren, Ohio before having children of her own. She giggles at the idea that her continued sense of fashion is due to her husband’s career, but it explains why the staff at Carriage Court have yet to see Victoria dressed in a pair of slacks. She is always “dressed to the nines” according to Carriage Court team members who spend time with her daily.

We at Senior Lifestyle wish all the best to Victoria as she nears her birthday on September 13th and hope that everyone can take a lesson from her. While she laughs at the idea that she holds the key to longevity, she certainly holds the keys to a happy life! Whether it is learning to smile more, becoming more compassionate, or simply taking pride in your sense of style, Victoria has nearly 105 years’ worth of wisdom to share.

The Memory Care Virtuoso at Walden Place

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

Walden Place resident Mary Tuthill has always been an exceptional communicator, and while dementia has changed her form of communication, it certainly has not dimmed her spirit. As a speech-language pathologist, her life’s work has been helping others communicate effectively, and her life at Walden Place, much like her life before dementia, is filled with laughter and music. Director of Resident Programs at Walden Place Amie Underwood says of their resident virtuoso, “Mary may not be able to speak using words like she used to, however, she speaks to me through her facial expressions, singing, whistling and laughing.”

The daughter of an Armenian immigrant who came to the United States in 1917, Mary is an accomplished pianist and opera singer. She is a coloratura soprano who performed as a professional soloist for the Presbyterian Church. Her daughter Sandra, also a speech pathologist, says that one of her earliest memories is watching her mother perform onstage. At a time when it was unusual for mothers to work outside the home, Sandra says that Mary was an incredible role model, managing the home and her career with humor and grace. She describes her mother as “brilliant” and the staff at Walden Place agrees wholeheartedly. They point out Mary’s love of music and her sense of humor, even when she is frustrated by the inability to find the right word to express herself. They also share that Mary has another talent: she is an expert whistler! Amie says that Mary can whistle like no one else; she can imitate any bird and whistle many songs to perfection. She is very fond of the movie The Sound of Music as well, and can often be found after dinner singing along with Julie Andrews or playing a medley of Christmas songs on the piano.

Mary’s daughter, Sandra, shares that when her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she worried about how the transition from assisted living to memory care would affect her, but says that she has been impressed with Walden Place. The community shows incredible dedication and compassion to their memory care residents. In fact, Sandra brings speech pathology graduate students to Walden Place for cognitive and language programming, a popular program that she says has an impressive waitlist! She shares that her students love visiting the memory care residents, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Residents and staff look forward to the visits, and the students gain valuable insight into non-verbal forms of communication which is a vital part of caring for a patient with dementia.

With programming that focuses on purposeful and enjoyable activities, the memory care program at Walden Place provides residents and families with meaningful interaction and opportunities to re-connect, and while a diagnosis of dementia can be daunting for any family, there can still be joy and laughter; Mary Tuthill is living proof of that. If you visit Walden Place and hear whistling or beautiful piano music, you can be sure that the virtuoso of Walden Place is sharing her unique talent for communication!


Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

Ethel Klein of Carriage Court of Marysville will be 108 years old on April 29th, and Carriage Court will plant a redbud tree in honor of the occasion! The tree-planting ceremony and birthday celebration will take place on Arbor Day, April 28th at 3 pm at Carriage Court. Well-wishes may be sent to Ethel at Carriage Court, 717 S. Walnut Street, Marysville, OH 43040.

Born on April 29th, 1909, in Willard Kentucky, Ethel was one of 5 siblings born to John and Lily Fleming, a minister and housewife. Ethel completed 11th grade and went on to work as a desk clerk for 20 years, marrying her husband Ernest in 1950 in Ashland Kentucky. They were happily married for 43 years. Ethel and Ernest enjoyed traveling and were particularly fond of seeing the southern states during their jaunts.

Ethel still enjoys reading her newspaper daily, watching basketball, and listening to Billy Graham and The Gaithers. She loves holidays, especially Thanksgiving, and attributes her long life to “good clean living” and taking the time to eat three healthy meals each day at Carriage Court. Ethel has been a resident of Carriage Court since June of 2015.

Special Needs Student Volunteer with a Special Place at Heritage of Peachtree

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

Every mother thinks her kids are special; what’s rare is when a whole community agrees with her. For our friend Sam, a caring and kind-hearted special needs student, that’s exactly what happened at the Heritage of Peachtree.

When the Social Coordinator from Clearwater Academy came knocking at the doors of Heritage of Peachtree in Peachtree City, GA, the Executive Director Wanda Khayat agreed immediately to host one of their special needs students as a community volunteer. What she didn’t realize is the depth of impact Sam would have over the next three years.

“Clearwater Academy has a wonderful Career Development program for students with special needs that prepares them for productive adulthood. I met with the Social coordinator and Sam, who was 13 at the time, and had had a massive stroke during his birth that left him with cerebral palsy, hemiparesis, seizures and global developmental delay,” said Wanda.

“I knew firsthand how important guidance and encouragement is, as I have a 10 year old grandson that also had a stroke during his childbirth, so I didn’t hesitate to welcome Sam into our family here.”

Sam began volunteering several times a week at the Heritage of Peachtree, stopping by to play games, cards, bingo, or simply visit with the residents. After two years, Sam officially joined the team through his Career Path program, designed to help special needs students succeed in the workforce. Now, Sam is pleased to be working with Heritage of Peachtree’s dining team three times a week.

“He’s learning how to work, he’s learning all about his responsibilities, and he’s such a caring and loving person,” said Wanda. “He’s had a huge impact on our residents, they just dearly love him; he is so special to us.”

After such success with the program, Wanda is working on expanding to invite other special needs students and children from Clearwater to become community volunteers. As for Sam, he won’t be leaving any time soon.

“I think Sam has had such a huge impact on our residents here at the Heritage of Peachtree not only because he’s such a wonderful person, but also because our residents can relate to him,” said Wanda. “Sam’s suffered a stroke, so he can’t do many of the things other kids his age can, and our residents are entering a time of life when they’re unable to do all the things they used to be able to accomplish. They gather around him, help him with his tasks, and he views them as some of his dearest friends. I wish everyone could experience this.”

Wayne Weber, Resident of The Barrington of West Chester, Presented Multiple Awards for Service in World War II

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Resident Spotlights.

On March 20, Congressman John Boehner presented Wayne Weber with the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Purple Heart. Mr. Weber served in the 182nd Battalion of the Army in World War II. A rifleman, Mr. Weber fought in the Pacific Philippines islands, where he “hit the beach” in Cebu City.

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