Some Still Here, But Many Return For Village North’s 30th Anniversary

Julia Tegeler, lead cook and supervisor since the day Village North Retirement Community opened, said she remembers when it only took one meatloaf to feed everybody-now it takes 16.

Johnnie Greenlaw, Christian Hospital auxiliary president, and Joann Rhoads, dining room attendant, Village North food services enjoy the event even while helping with the food table.

Tegeler was one of several original and present long-term employees and residents honored Aug. 31 at the 30th anniversary celebration of Village North Retirement Community, Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at 11160 Village North Drive near Christian Hospital. Over two hundred people attended.

Village North was the brainchild of  the late Paul F. Detrick, administrator for Christian Hospital Northeast and Northwest from 1960 to 1982. His vision was to build a community where older middle income people could improve the quality of their life by providing housing in a community offering caring staff and social opportunity. Three years of research, planning and determination came before the building stage. Even the landscaped look of the beautiful lake on the large wooded property was a planned aspect that would separate Village North apart from any of the country’s existing retirement housing.

The first apartment resident moved in during August 1982, the first nursing center resident came in September 1982 and the ribbon cutting ceremony was held on September 19, 1982.

“It was a challenge getting everyone settled those first days,” said Dorothy Espenscheid, first executive director. “People moved in quickly and we had to keep up, but we did.” Espenscheid added that she was glad to see the facility again. “It has that same warm, welcoming feel that it did when it first opened.”

Jane Grotpeter, resident since October 1982, served on a planning committee during building. It was her vision to enclose the walkways between the buildings and to have a private patio or balcony to each apartment.

Another long-term employee, Marietta Mareschal, was there on that opening day also, serving the residents. Her jobs for 26 years included waitressing, mini-market cashier, holiday decorator and mailroom attendant. After retiring, it took her only one month to decide to come back to Village North to volunteer.

“You don’t see this kind of loyalty anymore,” said Ron McCullen, president, Christian Hospital, also present at the celebration. “It is a testament to the heart and soul of Village North. I am proud to have been entrusted to help create more of its history in the years to come.”

Over 200 people attended the event, including employees and residents who have been present since the doors opened.

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