Category Archives: Northville Featured Spotlight

Resident Spotlight: Peggy

If you’re looking for a travel recommendation or a great new recipe, Oakmont Northville resident of more than two years, Peggy, is just the person to see. A former nurse whose passion for traveling has taken her around the world, Peggy’s zest for life and ability to persevere through challenging times has helped make her story one you’ll never forget.

From a Newborn to a Nurse

Peggy, whose real name is Margaret, was born in the heart of the Motor City at Providence Hospital on West Grand Boulevard. The first of many children, her family stayed in the city throughout her childhood, with Peggy eventually attending Visitation Catholic High School.

But life wasn’t always easy for the young family. Peggy’s mother suffered from ongoing medical problems, and her father was in the Navy which meant he spent a lot of time away from home. Soon after his return from service, he left the family, leaving Peggy, the family’s oldest child, to care for her seven siblings – including five brothers – as well as her ailing mother. It was no easy task, but Peggy persevered, eventually entering the Nursing Program at the same hospital in which she was born.

“Well, first of all the tuition was only a dollar a year, or a hundred dollars a year, something so reasonable like that,” she said laughingly while explaining why she wanted to go to nursing school. “Because I was in the caretaking business all the time with my five brothers, it just seemed like a perfect fit.”

And a perfect fit it was. Peggy eventually graduated from school and began working as a nurse at Providence for five different OBGYN offices – a job she would hold for twenty years.

A Husband and a Home in Korea

Though Peggy knew her future husband during her days at Visitation High School, it wasn’t until later that they’d reconnect and get married.

In the meantime, “I was a big dater,” Peggy said with laughter.

The marriage eventually led to children, two girls and two boys, which Peggy describes as the perfect combination. While she worked and raised the kids, her husband rose through the ranks as an executive at Ford Motor Company, eventually leading the iconic company’s Korean division. And it was only after all of her kids had graduated college and started their adult lives that Peggy and her husband would pick up and move to the Peninsula.

The adjustment to life in Korea for Peggy was as easy as could be. “I felt like I was on vacation the whole time we were living there,” Peggy said. “I really liked it a lot.”

The now jet-setting couple didn’t stay put for long. Using their home in Korea as a home base, the pair took trips around Asia including stops in Shanghai, Thailand, and, Peggy’s favorite, Indonesia – especially the island of Bali.

A Return to the United States

Though they were happy together for several years in Korea, Peggy’s husband would eventually ask her for a divorce. Peggy was on a trip to the United States at the time and decided just to stay and rebuild her life around her kids and grandkids, sharing a house with one of her daughters.

“My daughter was also going through a divorce and had two little boys at the time that I helped raise,” she said, smiling. “They’re in their 30s now, but we’re still very close.”

After living with her daughter, Peggy decided it was time to find her own place where she could be social and active. Though she did plenty of shopping around, Oakmont Northville became the obvious choice.

“I decided I needed to live with people,” Peggy said. “And when I came to visit here, the director made me feel so welcome.”

Now more than two years into her life at Northville, Peggy couldn’t be happier. “Everybody has been so kind to me,” she said. “I really like it here.”

Meet Martha

How does a native Wisconsinite, who spent stints in Kentucky and Tennessee, end up in the suburbs of Detroit? The answer: A great work ethic, a loving family, and an adventurous spirit. And that’s exactly what you’ll find when you meet Martha, this month’s resident spotlight at Oakmont Northville.

A Start in the Dairy State

Though she has called Michigan her home since 1950, Martha’s journey didn’t begin in the Mitten. She was born in Wisconsin to loving parents, but the family soon moved to Kentucky and Tennessee where she did much of her growing up. They had family there, and her father was able to get a job during the war working for Eastman Kodak – a job at which his daughter would soon join him.

“We both worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the war for Eastman Kodak,” she said. “We lived there for seven years before moving to Bristol,” another city in the Volunteer State.

Before their move to Tennessee, Martha spent much of her time going to school and church with the man who would eventually become her husband. They both lived near Owensboro, and when he returned from the European Theater where he served as a member of the Army Infantry during the war, they would make the decision to move north to Michigan to make a new life for themselves.

“He just wasn’t happy doing what he was doing at that time,” she said, in reference to her husband’s job in statistics. “He had been to Michigan before he went into the service, and liked it, so we decided to come here.”

A Move to Michigan

After arriving in Michigan and settling into the Detroit area, Martha’s husband worked some odd jobs until finally landing at General Mills as a salesman. The couple soon had six children, and despite the full house, Martha’s work ethic never failed her, becoming a seamstress and eventually working in a bank.

“I worked as a seamstress,” she said. “I did tailoring, too. I tailored all of his suits and all of the children’s coats and everything. Years later I went to work at a bank and became head teller,” Martha said.

Though her husband got sick and their neighborhood turned less-than-safe, that didn’t stop her. She continued working, and eventually moved to the Northville area where she’s been ever since. Her children, now mostly retired, have given her eight lovely grandchildren (the oldest is now 50) that she tries to see as much as possible.

When Martha made the decision that she was ready to move into senior living, she and her daughter visited Northville and knew that’s where she wanted to be. That was two years ago, and her feelings about the community haven’t changed.

“I love it here,” she said. “I’m not much of a joiner, and they leave you to do the things you want to do. I really do love it here.”