Resident Spotlight: Lucille

It’s hard to imagine a more shocking change of pace than going from the farm country of southern Illinois to the diesel-fueled factories of Detroit. But that’s exactly what our featured resident, Lucille, did. Whether it was working on the farm or on the assembly line, Lucille’s passion for doing the job well has helped her succeed and thrive even now more than 100 years after she was born.

From the Prairie State to the Mitten

“I’m from Southern Illinois; Buckner, Illinois,” Lucille said when asked about where she spent her early childhood years. Closer to Nashville than it is to Chicago, Buckner’s vast fields and farmlands were where she called home all throughout her adolescent and teenage years. Most of her time was spent helping her family with the daily tasks of the farm, but the tiring work schedule didn’t stop her from having some fun when she could.

Soon after her 21st birthday and just a short time before World War Two began, Lucille received an invitation from her older sister and her husband to come up to Detroit and get a job in the burgeoning Paris of the Midwest. Never one to shy from adventure, that’s exactly what she did – landing a job at Briggs Manufacturing Company in the City of Detroit.

“First, I worked in the sewing room doing different kinds of work, then I went into papering cars,” Lucille said. “That was a good job, and I was there until we shut down for war work.”

Lucille and countless other women in the workforce helped transform Detroit’s auto factories, like Briggs, into the true muscle of the Allied war effort – turning assembly lines into the Arsenal of Democracy. It was during this time that she took on a new role at work, a riveter, making her one of the true “Rosie the Riveters” of the war effort. “The work I did there is how I got the name Rosie the Riveter,” she said, referring to her work during the war.

From Rosie to Retirement

After the allied victory in Europe and Japan, things went back to normal in Detroit. Lucille stayed on at Briggs where she worked full-time all the way up until her retirement in the early 1970s. She then moved from her house on Cadieux Street on Detroit’s East Side and bought a condo in Harrison Township – where she lived until she moved into Oakmont Parkway this fall.

During her retirement, Lucille relished the chance to indulge in her favorite hobbies and pastimes. She traveled often, got in as much swimming as possible, and grew closer and closer to her nieces and nephews – often inviting them to join her for a picnic. Her free time has also allowed her to participate in one of her most meaningful hobbies of her life: crocheting blankets for those in need. Through a friend’s church, Lucille has helped make countless blankets that have been handed out at veteran’s homes, homeless shelters, and other places where people are in need.

Now living at Oakmont Parkway, life for Lucille is relaxed and fun. She enjoys the food  in the dining room and the great company of her neighbors. An avid card player, she looks forward to the weekly games that residents enjoy, and never takes a single moment for granted.

Oakmont Sterling Enhanced Senior Community Celebrates 13 Members of the Centenarian Club!

On Monday, October 8th, the residents and staff of Oakmont Sterling Enhanced Senior Living Community in Sterling Heights gathered together for a fantastic luncheon to celebrate a very special group of residents: the Oakmont Centenarian Club. Consisting of just residents aged 100 and older, the Club now has thirteen members – and all were honored during this special event.

Residents, staff members, family, and friends gathered together in the dining room to share a delicious three-course meal of fresh salad, brisket with all of the trimmings, and a gorgeous celebratory cake for dessert. Laughs, smiles, and great conversations were had by all, with many residents commenting that they can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Photos compliments of C & G Newspapers.

New Study: Living in senior housing communities leads to lower level of hospitalization

A new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis has found that living in a senior community can lead to lower levels of hospitalization for vulnerable seniors – including those with chronic health conditions.

Utilizing data from a decade-long study (2002-2012), the study concludes that the services offered by many senior communities, such as health education, encourage seniors to seek treatment sooner for pressing issues – leading to fewer trips to the hospital.

For more information about the study authored by Assistant Professor Dr. Sojung Park, visit the Washington University in St. Louis website here.

Meet Geno

Visit a local Bocce Ball court and chances are good that you’ll see a crowd gathered around one of the star players named Geno – the subject of today’s resident spotlight. That’s because, along with being a resident at Oakmont Parkway, Geno is one of the best Bocce Ball players in Michigan – fronting his own team and taking home the gold in the Michigan Senior Olympics. But more than just Bocce Ball, Geno is a man of many stories, many laughs, and an all-around great neighbor for the residents and staff of Oakmont Parkway. In today’s Resident Spotlight, we learn more about what makes Geno such a popular fixture and friend.

A Wife from a Rival School

Eugene, or as he’s known to all of his friends, Geno, grew up on Detroit’s East Side. His father worked for Chrysler while his mom stayed home and helped raise her son (Geno) and his two sisters. Life was good for the young family, and the children quickly grew, with Geno enrolling in and graduating from St. Rita’s High School near Eight Mile and Woodward. It was during these formative years that Geno would meet the woman who would go on to be his best friend and life partner.

“I met my wife in High School; she went to our rival school, St. Benedict’s, in Highland Park,” he said, laughing. “Mother Superior said, ‘you can’t take her to our prom, you need to take a girl from our school.’ And I said, ‘Oh no,’ and took her to our prom anyway.”

His instincts turned out to be right on with this girl from the rival school, as she would go on to become his wife and the mother of his children. Truly high school sweethearts.

From School to Service

After graduating from High School, Geno went into the service, joining the United States Navy as a Radio Man in the early 50s. “The Navy showed me the world,” he said laughing – but it also showed him conflict. He served with eight different ships during the Korean War, helping to send and transcribe important messages and support his squad. However, the war wasn’t all bleak. Two years into his service, Geno and his long-time girlfriend officially became husband and wife, and his first son was born on Selfridge Military Base. “He was a freedom baby,” Geno said.

When his service came to an end after four years, Geno came home and got a job delivering milk for Twin Pines Farm Dairy, a former Detroit institution, before finally settling into a job with the City of St. Clair Shores where he stayed for the next 22 years. When asked what he did for the City, Geno didn’t mince words. “[I did] everything,” he said, joking. “Water department, sewer department, tree trimmer, DPW – you know, just everything you could do, I did!”

East Siders for Life

The young family of seven, now with four daughters added to the mix, thrived, and they enjoyed family trips together to visit grandparents in Northern Michigan as well as the Sunshine State of Florida. The kids grew up and though some moved away to places like Texas and Florida, Geno and the gang always considered the East Side their home – where he remains to this day.

Happily settled into his life at Oakmont Parkway, Geno doesn’t waste a minute. He’s a board member of the St. Clair Shores Senior Center, an ambassador for the Macomb County Senior Olympics, and an avid Bocce Ball player – currently playing on an Oakmont-sponsored team in St. Clair Shores – vying again for yet another gold medal next year to add to his vast collection of accomplishments.

When asked about how he likes living at Oakmont Parkway, Geno’s answer was short and sweet. “I like it good,” he said. “There’s a lot of other places out there, and we looked at them, but here, you get a little extra.”

Congratulations Joanne on 20 Years of Service to Oakmont Parkway!

At Oakmont Senior Communities, we strive to not only provide a great place for our seniors to live and thrive, but also a great place for our employees to enjoy their career. That’s why we are so proud of the longevity and dedication of the staff in many of our communities.

When it comes to longevity and dedication at Oakmont Parkway, there is no staff member who has made a bigger impact than Housekeeping Supervisor Joanne English. Now celebrating her 20th year of service to the seniors of Clinton Township, Joanne’s irreplaceable spirit, incredible work ethic, and love for her co-workers make her a truly outstanding member of the Oakmont team.

We were thrilled to celebrate this milestone with a special luncheon, engraved plaque (not pictured), and a gift of appreciation for Joanne for all she has done to make Oakmont Parkway the outstanding community that it is. We look forward to 20 more years of her fantastic efforts!

Congratulations Joanne!