Tara Depaepe, Author at Lakeview Village - Page 3 of 4

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retired clergy living at lakeview village retirement community
Retired clergy call Lakeview Village home, continue lifelong explorations of faith

retired clergy living at lakeview village retirement community

People of all different stripes call Lakeview Village home. Among our residents there are doctors, attorneys, teachers, artists, businessmen, writers and engineers, to name a few. Mixed into this cornucopia is a small community of retired clergy. With their paths to ministry uniquely their own, what better time to share the stories of these former pastors than the Easter season?

Ken Hennix is a retired minister living at Lakeview VillageFrom Athletic Fields to the Altar
Ken Hennix
Ken Hennix grew up in rural America, an athlete’s athlete who aspired to be a coach, and, accordingly was studying physical education in college. One day a girl caught his eye.
“This Russian kid knew a girl I wanted to meet, so I asked him to introduce me. He refused. He said I wasn’t good enough for her,” Ken said.
Instead the Russian offered a trade; Ken would attend church service, and the Russian would introduce him to the girl. It was Ken’s junior year of college.
“I went to church and understood I was a sinner, and I needed forgiveness,” Ken said.
Thus began the process of a gradual change in Ken. The girl dropped out of the picture, but perhaps her purpose in Ken’s story had been served. Ken enrolled in seminary in Chicago.
“It wasn’t a big emotional experience,” Ken said. “It just forced me to think about who I was and what I was doing.”
Ken married, “the finest girl there ever was” and was a pastor for 15 years in Illinois, Michigan and Oklahoma. He then took a teaching and coaching position at Bacone College in Oklahoma, where he served as a missionary to the Native Americans. He was then posted to a fundraising position at Central Seminary for several years.
Once his stint at Central Seminary came to a close, Ken was in his late fifties and assumed most churches were looking for younger pastors. He lived with his wife Jean in Kansas City at the time, and she unexpectedly lost her job.
“I told her, we can just retire, you can try to find another job, or you can go into business with me,” Ken said.
Thus, Ken and Jean put his fundraising acumen to the test and started Hennix Philanthropic Services to help churches raise money. Ken traveled a lot and his wife stayed home and answered every phone call and kept things organized.
“She was a great organizer,” he said. “We were a great team.”
“It was exciting. Most of the people I dealt with over the years made the biggest gifts they ever had,” Ken said. “Giving more than you think you can makes you happy. People would call me Reverend Hennix, but after they made a large gift, I became Ken.”

A tale of two Als
Al Pope and Al Hager
Al Pope and Al Hager go way back. Both Methodist ministers, Al Pope met Al Hager during seminary while in Kansas doing summer field work and Al Hager encouraged Al Pope to return to Kansas after seminary.

Al Pope
Al Pope didn’t initially set out for seminary. He earned an undergraduate degree in engineering from Cornell. While at the university, Al was involved in the Wesley Foundation, the Methodist student group. It was as a member of this group that he started to ponder the eternal question, “How does God want me to spend my day?”
As he pondered, we went to work for DuPont as an engineer then served in the Air Force. When he returned from the Air Force, he went to seminary in Boston. After graduation, as Al Hager suggested, Al Pope moved to Kansas and became the full-time associate pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church.
“Engineering never hurt me,” Al said. “I learned a lot as an engineer that translated [to being a minister].”
Counseling was a big part of Al’s ministry, and one aspect that he enjoyed most.
“I had opportunities to be with people in their normal routines and also times of great joy or great stress and hardship,” Al said. “It’s a privilege to be allowed to get close to people in those times.”
Being a minister brought all kinds of satisfaction, enjoyment and challenges Al said. For Al, it is a life-long vocation. He still fills in as the minister at Lake Quivira’s small interdenominational church, and he is a member of the lay chaplains at Lakeview Village.
Al enjoys being active, and occasionally plays the piano during dinner at Northpointe.
“I play songs of the 1940s,” Al said. “I play three songs early, then I wait for the 6 o’clock dinner bus and play three more songs, so everyone has a chance to listen.”

Al Hager
Al Hager grew up in Oklahoma and studied Psychology at Oklahoma City University, while Europe was at war. He volunteered for a military program that allowed him to complete basic training, and then go inactive to attend college. While attending classes, Al was a Sunday school teacher. This was the beginning that led to a more serious career in ministry.
In May 1943, he was called to active duty. Al had misgivings about going to war, and struggled with the idea of shooting men he had never met in combat. He started pilot’s training, but was transferred to paratrooper school in preparation for the invasion. The training involved jumping from just 200 feet, so they would reach the ground faster. Al, like many others, suffered an accident and was sidelined from training. Instead, he came to the aid of the Chaplain he had gotten to know during a bible study. The pair ministered to other injured soldiers.
Al transferred to Seattle, Washington. A few weeks after he arrived, President Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was over, and Al was relieved. He had also decided to attend seminary.
First, Al returned to Oklahoma to finish his degree. Then, he did post-graduate work while he waited for his future wife Dot to graduate. The next fall, Al started seminary at the University of Edinburgh.
After seminary, the pair returned to the United States, and, after a year as a chaplain in Honolulu, settled in Prairie Village, where they helped grow Asbury United Methodist Church, a new congregation whose church hadn’t been built yet. Al stayed at Asbury until he retired.
Without the ministry, Al would have pursued psychology. “It would not have been the same,” Al said. “No way.”

It takes a Village
Dr. Bob Meneilly
Bob Meneilly’s journey to the ministry started when he was just 12 or 14 and started attending youth conferences and getting involved in his home church. He always planned to attend seminary following his graduation from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.
After graduating from seminary, Bob moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Kansas to start a new congregation in an up-and-coming J.C. Nichols development, Prairie Village.
“New homes were being built everywhere, the war was just over, so men were home and families were getting re-established,” Bob said. “We were in the heart of all of that.”
Starting a new congregation is very difficult, but Bob recalled a comment from the Board of American Missions when they elected to set him to the task.
“They said to send me – ‘he doesn’t know it can’t be done.’” Bob said.
Being a minister was, “everything I wanted to do, it was fulfilling and gratifying,” Bob said.
Bob especially enjoyed being involved in the larger community, whether it was providing commentary on sexual education in public schools or enabling African Americans to live in Prairie Village or constructing a facility to help the poor find employment and a better way of life.
During his 47-year tenure at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Bob became known as a community activist and drew the attention, negative and positive, that goes along with activism. Still, Bob maintains he was a product of the times more than anything else.
“It was that time in history,” Bob said. “I was in the right place at the right time. People were not as concerned about denomination as they had been. At one time, 20% of the congregation was Roman Catholic. They were there because they liked the community feeling of the church.”
Still, a sermon he gave in 1993 was published in the NY Times in August, drawing national attention–and ire–toward Bob. As a result, the MainStream Coalition was founded to advocate for mainstream, common sense, responsible and compassionate ideals.
When reflecting back on a career, the high points certainly stand out. But Bob’s ministry got off to a somewhat inauspicious start.
“It was my first time serving communion. [My wife] Shirley and I set it all out the night before. Well, it was very warm in the room. The next morning the congregation discovered that the grape juice had fermented some overnight,” Bob said. “They joked it was the best communion they’d ever had.”

Focused on Love
Jim Kenney
Jim Kenney decided in his early 20’s that he was not going to do anything for longer than he enjoyed it. He stayed true to this personal axiom throughout his life. He was a physicist, then an accountant and the co-owner of a music store.
“Ginger [my wife] said she would never have married a minister,” Jim laughed.
Jim’s circuitous route to the pulpit really started in Independence, Kansas, when he was running the music store. He was also volunteering with the youth group of the local church, and enjoying every minute of it.
“The people in Independence were stuck in the 1920s, and when the children left that environment, they didn’t do well out in the world,” Jim said.
To try and help expose the youth to the wider world, the Kenney’s took them on a trip to Kansas City.
“We went to the Golden Ox, and we had to tell them to save 10% for a tip. They were shocked; they didn’t know about tipping,” Jim said.
After the trip, Jim and Ginger, and their family, decided to give the seminary a go. Off they went to Princeton Seminary, where Jim’s faith was further formed in an unexpected way.
“Our last semester our professor told us, ‘I don’t want you to be too parochial, go to some other churches and check them out,’” Jim said.
So Jim and Ginger visited a Quaker meeting and were enchanted.
“The Quakers don’t have pastors out East, they have unprogrammed meetings,” Jim said.
So, Jim was ordained and spent the next 20 years as a Presbyterian minister, but visited Quaker meetings whenever he could.
Perhaps it was the Quaker belief that religion is about the Holy Spirit tempered by the wisdom of the community that appealed to Jim most.
“We have become intellectually focused rather than faith-focused. Love is supposed to be the center of faith, but neither the Nicene Creed nor the Apostle’s Creed contains the word ‘love’,” Jim said. “[Love] is what I’m championing at the moment.”
It’s difficult to teach love, Jim concedes. “When my eldest son was 12, he said, ‘Dad, what is it like to fall in love?’”
“I was stumped. It’s not easy to articulate. So I said, ‘Just wait, you’ll know.”

An Inheritance
Dick Weaver
The grandson of a minister, who idolized his grandfather, Dick Weaver saw the ministry as his birthright.
“I adored him,” Dick said. “From my earliest memories, I wanted to be a minister. It was just what I was going to be.”
In his youth, Dick had perfect attendance at Sunday School and received his first bible at 10.
“It was rather natural,” Dick said. “I was very involved in the church and the church Boy Scout troop, though truth be told, I probably preferred scout camp.”
When the time came for college, Dick went to Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, “where preacher boys went to prepare for ministry,” he said.
The college drew students from across the country, and it was, Dick recalled, almost like church camp with praise and worship, rallies and fellowship. Dick was majoring in bible with a minor in English. But it was in that academic community that his Sunday School faith collapsed.
“It was like grains of sand slipping through my fingers,” Dick said. “And it was gone.”
It turns out, most students at Phillips University don’t go on to seminary, but Dick persisted.
“It was because of my grandfather, and because I felt strongly there had to be something to ‘this,’ Dick said. “I was on a mission to discover what that was.”
Once Dick started preaching in seminary, his passion for theology started to come back. He drove 50 miles into the hills of Kentucky, and found preaching positive and uplifting.
Dick began trying to answer the question, “What is the Christian message that will really be mine that I can own?”
He discovered the theologian Rudolf Bultmann and found his message relevant to the modern world.
“Jesus made it possible for us to approach our lives as a gracious gift, and that became my message,” Dick said.
He took his message out into the world thinking that his success in ministry would be based on his success preaching.
“There is a lot of administrative responsibility to ministry,” Dick said. I started a new congregation once. After four years, I had worked myself to death. I made 100 calls a week and ignored my family.”
He thought about quitting. In fact, he did quit, for a year.
“When I returned as a pastor, I paced myself more,” Dick said.
He was the pastor at established churches that already had infrastructure in place to handle church operations. That helped.
His strong connection to his grandfather likely helped as well. The man in whose footsteps he followed was able to watch him preach. Dick sent him his typed sermons, and his grandfather wrote notes in the margins and sent them back.
“We remained close the rest of his life,” Dick said.
Ministry and Dick Weaver were deeply entwined. Dick said he spent seven years outside of his education formulating his faith.
“It’s impossible to comprehend [my life] had I not gone to seminary,” Dick said. “My entire life was ministry.”

Inconvenient Truths
John Young
John Young was raised in a conservative family in a rural, conservative town where conservative theology dominated.
“God was watching, and he would punish or reward. It was very frightening,” John said.
He was terrified of hell.
“I went to church camps and conferences, and when I was there it was easy to believe that God liked me. But in my daily life, I didn’t feel I measured up,” John said.
He would do things he wasn’t supposed to, and lived in fear of God’s wrath for his indiscretions. He did his best. He played the piano at church and revivals.
One day, his minister told John that he should become a minister.
“No one else had said that,” John said. “College wasn’t on the table. My older brothers never considered it.”
John went to four years of college and then seminary. In his second year of seminary he was failing Consistent Theology. He went to talk to his professor.
“He said I wasn’t thinking for myself; that I was just writing papers based on what I had read and not on what I thought,” John said.
He gave John an assignment. The professor wanted him to write three pages worth of questions that he had about faith and theology. John didn’t have any questions. He sat at his typewriter. Timidly, he typed, “Is there a God?” He thought he would be struck down by a bolt of lightning.
The exercise opened up his mind. He felt that after four years of college and two years of seminary, he had just started learning. He started asking himself what he wanted to do in life. But he was already trained to be a minister.
“My theology continued to evolve,” John said. “But I believed and do believe in Christian principles of love and kindness.”
His evolving theological views were the source of internal conflict for John, because he felt like he wasn’t being 100% honest.
“I regret that I wasn’t totally open with people,” John said. “But who is completely vulnerable? You’d get cut up.”
Despite his internal struggles, John ministered to his congregation. He provided counseling to people who were in crisis. He helped people save their marriages.
“There are people who still tell me that our counseling saved their marriages,” he said. “And they are grateful.”
Today, John happily attends the Unitarian Church, where his personal views of theology are shared with the community. He feels free.
“I wouldn’t want to change anything,” John said. “I love where I am today. I’m an accumulation of all of my experiences, so if I changed my experiences…”

Reasons (Excuses) for Not Budgeting
By Emerson Hartzler, Lakeview Village Resident

After nine years of financial advisory practice, working with over 300 clients, I think I have heard every reason people don’t have a household budget. They are all excuses, of course, not reasons, but I keep this opinion to myself, not wanting to totally offend my clients before I get the opportunity to earn their trust.

First, let’s do a quick role playing exercise. You are the President of a small company, and I am the Chief Financial Officer. You ask if we are meeting our budget so far this year. I respond, “Well, we were very busy at the start of the year and did not have time to develop a budget.” “Okay,” you say, “but how are we actually doing? Are we making a profit so far this year?” I answer, “We have been super busy and have not had time to track our income and expenses, so I don’t really know.” At this point, your response should be, “You’re Fired!”

Any reasonable person would agree that a business run that way deserves to fail, yet, of the 300 clients I have served, I can count on one hand the number that already had effective systems of budgeting and reporting against a budget for their personal finances. These same people are likely to earn from $2 million to $4 million in their working lifetimes and have no idea where all that money went!

So why don’t people have a household budget and track against it? The number one reason (excuse) I hear is, “it’s too hard and takes too much time.” The truth is, it is relatively easy and takes less than 5 minutes per week! Really? Yes, really. The secret is twofold: Technology and Simplicity, two words that typically don’t hang out together.

First, let’s address simplicity. What you need to manager your monthly budget is one checking account and one savings account. Period! Most clients I meet for the first time have several checking and savings accounts and a whole wallet/purse of credit cards: A nightmare of complexity! No wonder why they think budgeting is hard – it certainly would be under such a system. No one needs even one credit card. I believe credit cards are nothing less than a curse perpetrated upon us by banks and retailers for their benefit, not ours, but that is the subject for another blog post.

Assuming you can make the transaction from credit to cash (a magical transformation in the world of personal finance) you can then effectively use technology to do most of the “heavy lifting” of budgeting and reporting. There are a number of software products available. The one I use is Mint, which has two major advantages over the competition: it is owned and maintained by the Intuit company, a big player in the accounting software business (TurboTax, Quicken, Quick Books, etc.), and it is free to the user. I especially like the free part!

Mint is an “aggregation software,” which collects into one transaction register each of the transactions from your various bank accounts (yes, it will aggregate transactions from your 10 credit cards, also, but it will end badly – just too complex, even for sophisticated software like Mint). The magic of Mint is, it places each transaction into a budget category, and while Mint’s initial selection many not be what you want, you can “train” Mint to put each vendor into a proper budget category in the future. After a few months of this the tracking of income and expenses against your budget is almost automatic. (Thus, the 5 minutes per week needed to manger your personal finances.)

I am often asked, “How do I get the information into Mint?” The answer is, “You don’t.” Mint uploads each transaction that is already there in your bank records, assigns a budget category and compiles all transactions into category totals for a monthly report, comparing the actual results against your monthly budget. Not quite Harry Potter magic, but close!

At the end of each month and the end of each year my clients know exactly where their money came from and where it went. Typically, they don’t like the answer at first, but that is the payoff from the budgeting effort. Once you know your “reality” you can make decisions that will change it for the better! That’s called managing your money – what a concept! Try it; you’ll like it!

Cowboys ride in the Flint Hills
Fate brought Lakeview Village resident Roger Blessing and The Symphony in the Flint Hills Together
The Symphony in the Flint Hills

© Copyright Kristin Baker

As with so many things in this life, Fate surely played a hand as Roger and Jeanne Blessing arrived at a party one evening in 2006. An invitation from an acquaintance was responsible for Roger and Jeanne’s presence that night. Upon walking into the home, and recognizing several notable, deep-pocketed Kansas Citians mingling about, Roger said to Jeanne, “We don’t belong here.” Still, the availed themselves of drinks and headed onto a balcony, where they encountered a woman rehearsing a presentation.

Roger and Jeanne began to chat with Emily Connell, the Executive Director of The Symphony in the Flint Hills, who was canvasing the state hoping to find enough patrons to get the event off the ground. As she painted her vision for the event to the Blessings, Roger suddenly knew why he was there.

“They had no idea what they were doing,” Roger said. The board was planning an event for 5,000 people, who would arrive in hundreds of automobiles, but had only a vague notion of how it would all come together. Roger, an architect, was a planner. He told Connell that night that he would handle the logistics, and for the next several years Roger and Jeanne mapped out the events, determining where cars would park, where people should sit, and generally making sure the flow in and out of the concert went smoothly.

According to Connell, Roger was completely integral to the ongoing success of the event.

“Roger and Jeanne were there from the very beginning, finding ways to weave the event into our lives, and, for the rest of the team, into our hearts,” Connell said. “Roger was the only person who could really picture what the event would look like and how it must function to take care of thousands of people out in a wild, natural environment.”

Connell declared Roger’s site plans “meticulous” and designed to frame the beauty of the Flint Hills, never trying to compete with the special beauty of the prairie or tame the environment.

“It has turned into a major happening, “Roger said. “When people ask me about going, I tell them, ‘If you are going for the music, go to the symphony downtown. If you want to see cows, hike the Flint Hills, but if you want to go to an event like no other, go to the Symphony in the Flint Hills.”

Concert goers enjoy music on the prairie at the Symphony in the Flint Hills

© Copyright Kristin Baker

“[Roger’s] contributions were many. The major one was his enormous generosity – giving what is most valuable – the time of his life. And bring with that commitment his talent, experience and warm, appreciative heart, as well as his sometimes prickly, incisive mind and always life-full spirit,” Connell said.

Roger and Jeanne enjoyed the symphony a few times a year, but their real interest in this event were the Flint Hills. The couple, who recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary, were avid hikers throughout their relationship. They were frequent visitors to the Flint Hills where they walked the prairie and looked out over the majesty of the plains.

“I never have a camera. I don’t take pictures. But if I close my eyes, I can see the Flint Hills before me, and my car parked 100 yards over here, “Roger said.

The Flint Hills are made up of 9,936 square miles of tallgrass prairie, undisturbed by early settlers because of the rocky soil. It is so large and diverse, Roger said, so it is difficult to pinpoint one specific spot as a favorite. Cattle ranches dominate the area, and the Blessings got to know some of the ranchers, including the Hoy family, who operate a 7,000 acre ranch in the Cottonwood River Valley in Chase County.

“Once you get over the concern of a cow herd circling around you, you get more comfortable with the hiking,” Roger said. “Then, when a cowboy rides up and gets off his horse to talk to you, you really have a lot of fun. I’ve never met a cowboy who doesn’t love being a cattleman in a pasture like that.”

Cowboys on Horseback in the Flint Hills of Kansas

© Copyright Kristin Baker

Connell told Roger that there would be people who came because they loved the symphony, and people who came because they loved the Flint Hills, but after a while they move on; but the people who loved the Flint Hills and the symphony, would be the core that kept the event going.

According to Roger, Emily was right in that respect. The Symphony in the Flint Hills is known nationally and, Roger says, some internationally.

Roger and Jeanne were a dimension in themselves to the Symphony, according to Connell. “They were intrepid, wry and encouraging,” she said. “How I miss them. I am grateful to have shared a grand adventure with them.”

This is the 12th year for the concert, which will take place June 10 at Deer Horn Ranch in Geary County.

“Singing Home on the Range as the sun is setting, there’s nothing like it,” Roger said. “That’s the finale.”

Family discusses move to a retirement community.
Moving to a Retirement Community: A Family Discussion

A free e-book with tips on how to discuss a retirement community with your children.

If your children are at least 40 years old and you are at least 70, it’s time to start talking to your loved ones about your next move. If you are anxious about broaching the topic, consider that according to the AARP, more than 75% of children with parents reaching retirement age have already considered their parents’ independent living options, even if they’ve never talked about it before. If you find yourself struggling with finding the right way to begin the conversation, download our free e-book. It contains helpful tips for initiating conversations about the big move as well as ways to help children feel comfortable with the decision.

You’ll learn:

  • Tricks for getting the conversation started
  • Phrases you can use in your conversation
  • How family traditions continue after your move to Lakeview VIllage
Complete the form below to download your free e-book.
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Choosing the Right Retirement Community

Finding the perfect fit among available retirement lifestyles isn’t easy. From 55+ homes associations to senior living apartments and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) like Lakeview Village, it is important to make the right choice, for you.

Lakeview Village President and CEO Jamie Frazier offers three tips for active adults trying to narrow down their retirement choices.

  1. Get to know the reputation of the communities.

    Online reviews on Google+, Yelp and other online review sites are helpful in hearing what other people are saying about the community you are investigating. Many communities will also arrange for you to dine with residents in a community dining room. This not only gives you an opportunity to ask residents about their personal experiences, but is a way for you to observe resident and staff interactions, resident interactions with each other, and, of course, sample the food!

  1. Make sure the community is financially secure.

    Ask questions so that you understand the community’s financial position as well as what aspects of the community are priorities. Non-profit communities may be able to reinvest residents’ services fees right back into the community, while communities run by for-profit corporations or venture capitalists may be more beholden to shareholders than the residents they serve. Many for-profit companies in senior living own multiple communities, so more-profitable neighborhoods may see money leaving their community to help support struggling communities or to build new communities.

  1. Ask yourself: “Is the community the right fit for you?”

    There is a big variety among senior living neighborhoods. Most offer some services and amenities, but they will vary in scope considerably. Some communities will offer health care on site, through all levels of care, while others may require residents to move outside of the community if they need skilled nursing or assisted living. Some communities are exclusively for apartment living, while others include cottages or high end villa homes in addition to apartments. It is important to visit communities until you are comfortable that the one you choose will satisfy your needs.

Retirement community living can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Doing your research before you make a final decision will find you in a senior neighborhood where you can thrive for many, many, many years to come.

International Residents add Flair to Lakeview Village

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz experienced a tumultuous journey to the United States

By Shellie Sullivan

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz now lives at Lakeview Village in Lenexa

Lakeview Village resident Brigitte Roschitz at 18 in Austria.

A retirement community in Lenexa, Kansas may not sound like a place with much international flair. Perceptions can be deceiving. Lakeview Village is home to residents from three different continents, including Brigitte Roschitz who was born in Austria.

Austria is a land-locked European country bordering the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Brigitte was 11th out of 12 children in her family. Her father was a master tailor and ran his own business in their home, where her mother helped, as she was a seamstress. Brigitte remembers being happy growing up, that is until 1945.

Post-WWII Austria was a tough place for German Austrians

After WWII, Austria was divided into American, British, French and Soviet zones. Brigitte’s family, the Steins, lived in the Soviet zone. In the Soviet zone, Yugoslavian Partisans gathered up all the German Austrians, and put them in concentration camps. Brigitte was 10 years old in the spring of 1945 when soldiers came to her home in the middle of the night and took her father and oldest brother. The family didn’t know what had happened to them or where they were taken. A week later, more soldiers returned for the rest of the family.

When the soldiers started to come into the house, Brigitte said her mother had the children layer their clothing and wear their coats, since they were not able to pack a bag or take anything but what they had on their bodies. Her mother had the children roll money up in their sleeves and hide some small jewelry in their clothes. She told them they would need it along the way. The soldiers checked everyone for money and jewelry, but because of how smart Brigitte’s mother was, they missed their hidden treasures.

Everyone from her town, minus the able bodied males, was moved to town churches or schools. The soldiers then released all the non-German people, of which Brigitte’s family was not included. The people who remained, which Brigitte estimated to be around 8,000 or so, marched to the next town. Once they arrived, they were moved into the town church. A woman, who was a friend of the family, arrived in town looking for the Steins. She brought Brigitte’s family to her house where she cared for them until the Partisans came a week later and took everyone in the house to the train station. They were loaded on the train and rode for two hours. When they arrived at the other end, there were more Partisan soldiers waiting to shuffle them to their new residences.

Their new residences were homes that belonged to other Germans. Brigitte explained that most homes at that time had two sections.  One was larger and designed for a growing family with children, while the other was smaller and typically housed grandparents. When Brigitte’s family arrived, the current owners were moved to the smaller part of the house, and several other families were put in the main house to share. Essentially, they were imprisoned in this house and town. The town was heavily guarded and referred to as “camp.”

Young and old started to die in the camp. Throughout these moves, the Stein family still didn’t know what had happened to their father and brother. As it turned out, they had been working in a lumber prison camp not too far from the rest of the family. The prisoner “grapevine” allowed Brigitte’s father to learn where his family was being held, and he and her brother were able to sneak into the home and stay there with the family.

“Oh that was a happy day!” said Brigitte with smiling, misty eyes.

Sister Engelfriada smuggled Lakeview VIllage resident Brigitte Roschitz out of an Austrian camp.

Brigitte’s sister, Sister Engelfriada, smuggled her out of an Austrian internment camp.

Brigitte’s older sister smuggles Brigitte and her little sister out of the camp

After a few months, Brigitte’s older sister, a nun who had not been living with the family, Sister Engelfriada ( meaning angel of peace), was permitted to visit her family inside the camp. She had heard about all the prisoners in the camp being sick and dying, so she talked her way in with a suitcase full of medicine and food to give her family. Little did she know how perfect her timing was as her family was suffering from Typhus and very, very sick. Brigitte says that within three days of eating and taking the medicine, the entire family recovered.

Sister Engelfriada was able to return again, and this time Brigitte’s father told the older sister that she was to take Brigitte and her youngest sister Agnus with her when she left. He wanted to save them, and he told Engelfriada that they would die if she didn’t get them out, because they were too young to survive at the camp. Sister Engelfriada smuggled Brigitte and her sister out of the camp and onto the train. Once on the train, they sat on a bench and were not allowed to make a sound for fear someone would hear the girls speak German and put them in danger. Her sister took them to the house of someone she knew, where another sibling, Sister Evelina and their brother, who was a priest, met them. Brigitte’s brother took her to Zagreb, Croatia and Sister Evelina took little Agnus to her home. They were separated for a year,  then were reunited in Croatia  and stayed with Engelfriada in her “Mother House” where they lived for four or five years. While in Croatia, Brigitte attended school. Brigitte said it was difficult because they did not know the language. “It was not fun,” she said. “But we had to learn because it was not good to be a German during this time.”

Several years later, the rest of her family finally succeeded in escaping the camp by crawling on their bellies in the snow under fences in the middle of winter. They were able to make it to the border into Austria and to one of the refugee camps where the Red Cross helped them.

Brigitte is reunited with her family and meets her future husband

Eventually Brigitte and her little sister were reunited with the rest of family in the Austrian refugee camp. It was there that she met her husband, although she didn’t know he would be her husband until years later. The Steins lived in the same barracks as his family and were in youth group together. Brigitte continued to go to school, eventually attending seamstress school where she learned sewing and business. She took a bus every day and finished when she was 18.

It was hard to find a job, but a priest friend told her that the children’s surgical hospital needed nurse aids. She was able to get a job there and, even though she had to move away from home, she really liked it!  Brigitte worked for three years, and then heard about a seamstress job for a hospital in her family’s town. She took that job for better pay!

Brigitte and her future husband had stayed in touch over the years, but then his family moved to America. He didn’t want to leave Brigitte, but he went with his family and came to visit her. He missed her so much that on one of his trips in 1964 he asked her to marry him, and he stayed so they could be married.

It took a while to get the approved paperwork for her to leave the country and move to Kansas City. Her husband Ernest was a home builder. They lived with his family in Strawberry Hill until they could afford an apartment on their own. She loved Strawberry Hill, which she described as ethnic and community-oriented. It was so different starting a new life and only knowing German and a little Croatian. She learned English from evening classes, citizenship classes and everyday living. She liked that she had to learn about the United States. Even though it was to pass her test, she thought it was so interesting. Brigitte was happy to come to this country because, “the U.S. had so much opportunity for jobs,” she said. Eventually Ernest and Brigitte were able to buy a house, fix it up and raise two daughters, who still live in the area.

Ernest has been gone for 17 years. Brigitte moved to Lakeview in 2014, and said she loves her apartment and being served, loves that her church is across the street and she can hear the bells, and loves that her grandchildren go to school across the street. Once you meet Brigitte, you will see that she is full of love and joy!  She told me that it comes from the great gift her parents gave her – faith. “I thank the Lord every day for living here at Lakeview,” she said.

Brigitte and Agnus were smuggled out of a camp in Austria

Ernest, Brigitte, Agnus and Agnus’ husband

Lakeview Village CEO
‘State of the Village’ updates residents about Lakeview Village

New construction projects, innovations in health services, and 43 new move-ins were highlights from the 2016 “State of the Village” presented by President and CEO Jamie Frazier.

Jamie Frazier, CEO and President of Lakeview Village

Jamie Frazier President & CEO

New construction, routine maintenance propel Lakeview Village above other Johnson County retirement communities

Last year was busy for the remodeling crew, as they completed 58 apartment remodels and a total of 111 capital projects. In addition to completing the fourth major phase of burying overhead power lines around campus, installing new street signs and repairing a storm water pipe, the community worked with Don Julian Builders to complete its first two Patio homes and started on two more. Lakeview Village also demolished three vacant cottages to make room for new Don Julian homes along 91st Terrace, including a rare single-family home.

Some of these new homes are part of the 50 agreements for independent living approved in 2015. Lakeview Village welcomed new neighbors to homes in cottages, villas, and apartments in Northpointe, Gardenview, Southridge and Heritage.

A lovely home within a larger community is just one benefit of living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Lakeview Village’s health and wellness focus and numerous programs is another. Our wellness team is happy to report that, on average, , our residents see improvements year after year in upper and lower body strength, cardiovascular endurance and dynamic agility; as well as reduction of fall risk. In addition to general wellness, we have begun offering the Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR) fitness program, which includes a circuit, aqua and pole walking class for those focused on delaying the effects of Parkinson’s. Lakeview Village also partnered with KU’s Alzheimer ’s Disease Research Center to present Lifestyle Enrichment for Alzheimer’s Prevention (LEAP) programming for residents on campus. This program involves an emphasis on exercise and eating well to help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer ’s disease.

Our wellness focus helps residents thrive longer in independent living

Our wellness team presented at the International Council of Active Aging (ICAA) Annual Conference and at the Annual Parkinson’s Foundation Symposium. Not only is our wellness team focused on helping Lakeview Village residents live healthier, longer, they undergo training to stay at the forefront of programming and best practices for optimal senior health.

Lakeview VIllage by the Numbers

Quality, caring health care services, should you need them

The third major benefit of retirement community living is access to on-site healthcare, as needed. Our annual health survey for the Care Center and Assisted Living apartments were both well above average. Our Assisted Living survey hasn’t had a deficiency recorded since it opened in 2010.

Eastside Terrace Sub-Acute Rehabilitation was very busy in 2015. This service is available to Lakeview Village residents and the Johnson County community at large. It is a waystation between the hospital and home for those recovering from a stroke, heart attack, hip or knee replacement and many other orthopedic procedures.

In 2015 we served about 850 patients whose length of stay was well below state and national averages. Our Return to Hospital rate was only about half of the national average.  We continue to be a 5-star rated community by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. This quality rating helps savvy consumers differentiate between rehabilitation providers, as quality in this industry varies widely. You can check community ratings at cms.gov.

In addition to our sub-acute rehabilitation services, we have 64 therapists working on in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation, including speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. We have therapists certified in SAEBO, Vital Stim and LSVT BIG and LOUD programs. We also received accreditation to become a free-standing outpatient therapy clinic, so Lakeview Village can expand services to off-site locations. We are managing two clinics in area assisted living communities.  Therapists performed 45,000 rehabilitation sessions in the last year.

The Lakeview Village Foundation raises funds for Lakeview Village improvements and the Good Samaritan Fund

The Lakeview Village Foundation provides assistance to Lakeview Village residents through the Good Samaritan Fund and also contributes to overall campus improvements. For example, the Foundation secured $12,000 from the Nettleton Foundation for Beauty Salon Improvements.  Last year, the Foundation received $508,000 in donations from 380 donors.  The donor wall in Eastside Terrace lists 782 names of donors who have given from $500 to more than $100,000 each in donations.

The Good Samaritan Fund helps cover the costs of the monthly service fee for residents who, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full monthly fee. This means that residents are never asked to leave Lakeview Village due to an inability to pay.

New construction projects, dozens of new neighbors, and specialty certifications for our wellness team and new accreditations for health services made 2015 a year of progress at Lakeview Village. We continue to make improvements across our community to remain the most innovative retirement community in Johnson County. You can learn more about Lakeview Village and our future plans during a personal tour.


Speech Pathologist Enjoys Challenges of Career
Speech Pathology is a Calling

Speech Pathology is a true calling for Michelle Hilger.

Michelle Hilger is one of Lakeview Village’s on-site speech pathologists. In honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month, we sat down with Michelle to learn more about speech pathology and how it helps enrich lives.  

Searching for a Career

When Michelle Hilger arrived at Kansas State University, she was searching for the next, right step. Accordingly, she enrolled in a career and life planning class, where she completed an assessment that, through a series of questions, would point her (she hoped) to a worthwhile career path. Speech Pathologist was at the top of the list.

Armed with this new information, Michelle had a conversation with her father. In his youth, her father had a stutter and worked with a speech therapist. He told Michelle that his therapist was an inspiration. After a little more soul-searching (and job shadowing), Michelle decided to pursue speech pathology.

Finding a Calling as a Speech Pathologist

Now working as a speech pathologist, Michelle hasn’t looked back.

Recently, she met a patient who couldn’t swallow. His dysphasia was so pronounced, that he was getting all of his nutrition from a feeding tube.

“Food was important to him; when he couldn’t eat, he lost pleasure (from eating) and his social life suffered,” Michelle said. “His spirits were low.”

The pair worked and worked and worked. One day, the patient walked in waving a paper in the air exclaiming, “I passed, I passed!”

One the piece of paper was a note saying that he had passed his video swallow and would be able to eat again.

Speech pathology isn’t just for people who need to re-learn to swallow. Michelle assists with all aspects of communication – including teaching patients how to adapt their environments to help cope with memory loss. Michelle has created cards for patients to carry listing their address, so when they ride the Lakeview Village bus, they always remember where to get off. She also makes signs to hang on the back of doors, prompting patients to make sure they have their glasses and keys before they leave their homes.

While some memory loss is normal with aging, Michelle cautions that dementia is not. Thankfully, Michelle has a lot of tips and tricks to keep communication going, even as patients encounter new challenges.

“I worked with a woman who was very emotional about losing her independence,” Michelle said. “She had such a drive to be involved in social activities, but she would get embarrassed if she couldn’t remember a word and had started to withdrawal.”

Michelle told her to just describe the word she was searching for, instead of pausing while she tried to recall it. At her next appointment, the patient told Michelle that the new strategy was working wonderfully.

“She gave me a hug and said, ‘I’ll always remember you.’”

Innovations in Speech Pathology

Like most occupations today, Speech Pathology is getting a boost from mobile technology. There are smart phone apps that work as memory aids, and some that will even track your volume levels. This new technology is helping people to communicate longer, even in the face of neurological factors, which fascinate Michelle who is certified in LSVT Loud, a program that helps combat the effects of Parkinson ’s disease.

While technology and adaptive tips and tricks will help older adults communicate better, the motivation of the patient plays a critical role in the success of therapy.

“I like to find out their story, what motivates them and what (the patient’s) goal is, so that I can help them achieve that goal in some form,” Michelle said.

Michelle reports that work as a speech pathologist is never boring. She is constantly learning and is given a variety of challenges to tackle. While she initially thought she would work with children, perhaps in honor of her father’s therapist, Michelle says she is much more comfortable working with adults.

“(Adults) intrigue me more, and I connect better with adults,” Michelle said. “Working with adults felt more like home.”


The Gentlefolk is a barbershop quartet.
Dynamic Duo: Fred and Grace Holmes Live Their Passions
The Gentlefolk is a barbershop quartet.

Fred and Grace Holmes, with Arlene and Rex Raudenbush, perform in a barbershop quartet – The Gentlefolk.

Next time there is an open seat beside Fred and Grace Holmes in the dining room at Southridge, I’d suggest you take it. The Holmes’s have certainly led fascinating lives, including long stints abroad doing medical missions in developing countries. Grace was one of only three women in her medical school class; certainly she broke down barriers for those that came after her. Fred researched cancer epidemiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. They raised six children, five of whom were adopted.

What is most engaging about Fred and Grace, though, is their energy. They carry with them the aura that follows people who are living out their passions; it draws you in, inspires you, and, with luck, you can take a little bit of that energy with you to pursue your own passions.

In 2012, the pair published their first book, Tumbili, under the pen name Anne Miller Johnson, M.D. It is a medical mystery set in Africa, combining two things the Holmes’s know well: medicine and life in Africa. Fred has since gone on to write three more books, a series, about a doctor in the Pacific Northwest, where the Holmes attended medical school.

In addition to his medical degrees and designations, Fred earned his MA in British History from the University of Kansas. For his thesis, he researched medical problems of the Stuart monarchs of England; it was published in the UK as “The Sickly Stuarts.”

The couples’ interest in medical history isn’t limited to the British. They have also done extensive research into medicine during the First World War. The pair teamed with other medical historians to delve into the archives at the WWI museum, pouring through medical records from Base Hospital #28 in Limoges, France. Essays they wrote as part of this research, and more information about Base Hospital #28 are available online.

Spurred by this research, Grace decided to write a book about the role female nurses played in WWI. So the pair took to research across the country, trying to dig up whatever they could on WWI nurses. During their research they stumbled across the name of a nurse in North Dakota. They called a library in the state looking for information about her. After affirming that there were two pages on the nurse in question, the voice on the other end of the phone said, “Would you like the others?”

A one-time president of an American Legion Auxiliary in North Dakota had many years before collected information on 270 women from the state who had served in some capacity during WWI. Fred and Grace quickly took to digitizing the microfilm and sorting through the interviews. When it was over, there were interviews with 225 North Dakota WWI nurses.

“There were a lot of tender stories,” Fred explained. “They (nurses) made a huge impact. They were the last face someone saw as they were dying.”

For French and British soldiers, there was always the possibility of visits from family who lived near enough to get to travel to the hospital. For U.S. servicemen, the nurses filled the role of family.

Grace recently signed a contract with a publisher for “North Dakota Nurses Over There” which will be available in April 2017, on the 100th Anniversary of America’s declaration of war on Germany.

When not writing or researching, Fred and Grace sing in a barbershop quartet with Arlene and Rex Raudenbush called the Gentlefolk. They both have had a life-long interest in music and have been singing in various choirs and groups for most of their lives.

Whether researching, singing, writing or entertaining, Fred and Grace Holmes live full, rich lives. They are a delightful couple and a wonderful addition to Lakeview Village.

Occupational Therapy Offers Solutions to Daily Challenges

Tools help seniors with personal careApril is national Occupational Therapy month, and the outpatient therapy department at Lakeview Village has planned activities throughout the month to educate our community on occupational therapy and its role in helping seniors live active lives.

What is Occupational Therapy?

When we hear the word ‘occupation,’ many of us immediately think of a job. If you’re retired, why would you need “job” therapy? Occupational therapy refers to any meaningful everyday activity you perform, including those that help you manage your home and personal care. If pain, injury, disease or any other factor are keeping you from your goals, activities or independence, consider occupational therapy.

Do you or a loved one have:

• Trouble reaching into closets or cabinets?
• Numbness/pain in your hands – especially after sleeping?
• Difficulty writing or eating?
• Tremors that interfere with daily tasks?
• History of a stroke and haven’t gotten back full use of your arm or hand?
• Arthritis?
• Macular degeneration?
• Decreased or low vision?
• Trouble with fasteners on clothing or objects?

Lakeview Village occupational therapists can work with you to help you reach your maximum potential. The outpatient therapy team practices person-centered care. That means our occupational therapist will work to help you reach the goals that are important to you.

Help managing Parkinson’s Disease

Lakeview Village occupational therapists are trained in the LSVT BIG® treatment program for those with Parkinson’s Disease. This innovative program has increased amplitude (bigness) of limb and body movement that translated to improved speed and balance for those who received therapy. Participants also enjoy increased independence and a better quality of life.

Occupational Therapy is available to Lakeview Village residents and to the Kansas City community at large. Once you are referred by your physician or have requested therapy services, your appointment will be scheduled within 48 hours. Your therapist will complete an evaluation and develop an individualized plan of care. We accept Medicare, private insurance, Worker’s Compensation, and private pay. Prior to your first visit, our staff will assist you with insurance verification and coverage questions.