The month of March is National Women’s History Month. It is a special time to recognize the incredible accomplishments of strong, inventive and successful women. From its inception in 1987, people across the United States have used National Women’s History Month as a dedicated time to acknowledge the contributions of women through history and to highlight the struggles for women that continue today.
At Anthology Senior Living, communities came together to celebrate women and share life stories. Continuing our efforts to highlight the special women who call Anthology communities home, here are more inspiring stories.
Anthology of Novi
At Anthology of Novi, sharing women’s stories started with discussing Marilyn. Marilyn began playing the bass as a child in Hong Kong. She continued her music education by getting her master’s degree at Juilliard and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. Her professional career includes playing as a freelance musician member of the Traverse Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and, currently, the Windsor Symphony. When not playing the double bass or viola da gamba, Marilyn can be seen traveling the world!
Celebrating women at the Novi community also included talking about Marcia. Marcia graduated from Wayne State and received her master’s degree at the University of Michigan. She started her career in elementary education as a teacher. Her most memorable moments were teaching gifted students and opening a brand-new elementary school. She went on to become an elementary principal and continued in this role for many years, positively impacting many students’ and teachers’ lives. In addition to her career, Marcia helped raise three stepchildren and has always been an avid reader; she still participates in two book clubs today!
The sharing of life stories continued at Novi with stories about Myung. Myung grew up in Japanese-occupied Korea during the Korean War. After graduating first in her class, she was the first female in her medical school residency. She received the prestigious Methodist Crusade Scholarship for postgraduate medical studies at NYU and immigrated to the U.S. in 1952. She is proud to have become a naturalized American citizen and to have gone on medical missionary trips to Peru, China and Bangladesh. Myung was married for 59 years and raised a family while working, volunteering and traveling to all seven continents!
Anthology of McCandless
At Anthology of McCandless, sharing women’s stories helped to unite team members, residents and family members. It began with stories of Ragaa. Ragaa is a mother, grandmother and wife to her late husband, Thanaa. She was the first person in her village in Egypt to go to college, which set a trend throughout her town. Ragaa worked extremely hard every day, whether for a job or for life. She came to the United States to pursue a college scholarship without knowing anyone and became a professor in biophysics/biochemistry at Point Park College.
The reminiscing continued with stories about Marcia. Marcia was the vice president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and, as such, the administrator of the Foundation’s grant-making process and community leadership initiatives. In addition, she traveled the country to speak at conventions, where she shared her vast experience at the Foundation. Marcia has a big heart and a passion for helping animals in need. She volunteered at Animal Friends and rescued an injured cat that still lives with her. Even though dementia has robbed her of the ability to speak, Marcia continues to make new friends with her dazzling smile.
Other touching life stories shared included stories of Fran. Fran embarked on a new career in her 50s. Her primary responsibility was as a stay-at-home mom, with various part-time jobs while her kids were young. At age 50, she decided to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse. She started college and pursued her degree in nursing. It was very hard work; she graduated and became a registered nurse. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she jumped into working in the operating room as a new RN. She worked for many years in different nursing capacities before retiring.
Anthology of Mayfield Heights
|Dr. Florence M.||Erna P.|
At Anthology of Mayfield Heights, community members shared stories and memories to honor the community’s amazing women. First came the story of Dr. Florence M. Born in 1919, Dr. Florence M. is continuing her life story with Anthology at the age of 104! Florence became a psychiatrist and especially took a liking to bettering her community. Florence spent time working as a psychiatrist at Woodruff Hospital; it was the largest private psychiatric hospital in northeast Ohio. When threats of selling the Woodruff Hospital came about, Dr. Florence M. single-handedly started petitioning to keep it open. Florence gathered enough support between coworkers and the entire community to keep the hospital open. Closing the hospital would have been detrimental to the community and meant that all the young adolescents who needed psychiatric care would have to go to state hospitals with appalling conditions at that time. The Woodruff Hospital was desperately needed during these times, and Dr. Florence M. was there to save it! Florence spent every Monday afternoon for 25 years at the Juvenile Court Center. She had a passion for helping adolescents. She would receive calls from those she helped at all hours of the day and night and was always there with a listening ear and eager to provide support. In her spare time, Florence loved to travel. She traveled with her daughter and National Geographic around the entire world. This amazing month-long trip allowed them to see the world and meet many different people. Dr. Florence M. says, “Do things to help improve your community; go beyond yourself.”
The Mayfield Heights community also told the life story of Erna. Born in 1936 in Poland, Erna P. witnessed the Russian and German invasions that devastated the Jewish community. Erna and her middle-class family were sent to a ghetto where they were forced into manual labor and later separated. However, Erna and her mother were able to plan an escape with the help of a farmer. They hid under the hay of his wagon, were taken away from the ghetto and began a life of hiding from authorities. This time in Erna’s life contains many instances where she and her mother were nearly captured and could have been killed. Eventually, the two made their way to Italy where they hid as Catholics and worked cleaning a rectory. Erna recalls that, at five years old, she was tasked with cleaning up after the yard animals, like chickens, roosters, ducks and geese, who chased her and bit her. After that, Erna found whatever she could in her spare time to keep herself away from the rectory, even joining in the town’s funeral processions.
They had gotten word that Erna’s uncle was safe and living in Italy, so she and her mother made their way to him, crossing The Alps on foot. Erna recalls that this journey ended in April, and she can still see the beautiful village and feel the sunshine the day they arrived. In 1951, Erna crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a military boat to the United States. They then traveled to Detroit, and thanks to the Jewish Federation, they could obtain an apartment and employment for her mother at IBM. Erna received a scholarship to Wayne State University where she met her future husband, John, in their freshman English class. The two married during their senior year and both became university professors. Erna’s childhood displacement allowed her to excel at language studies, and she taught Spanish and Italian. While John was teaching at Cleveland State University, Erna read one of the school’s textbooks and thought, “I can do better than this.” And she did – introducing a more journalistic approach to textbook writing. Erna and John have written numerous books over the years. Erna was born into a comfortable life that quickly became entrenched in upheaval and loss, and through perseverance and resilience, she has enjoyed success, peace and happiness.
Anthology of Northville
|Kathy||Dr. Mary Ann||Doris|
The team and residents at Anthology of Northville, also came together to celebrate amazing Anthology women for International Women’s Day. Kathy was fearless, and at the age of 14, she took three different buses to downtown Detroit to see Elvis Presley in concert. Kathy had worked hard, saving her babysitting money, to see the King of Rock and Roll with three other friends, but when the day came, her three friends had spent their babysitting money and couldn’t go; Kathy did go. Kathy graduated from Grace Hospital with her nursing degree in 1962. She started her career at Botsford Hospital before taking a job at a lockdown psychiatric hospital as the director of nursing and then retiring from Charter House Nursing Home. Kathy loved to travel with her beloved Aunt Kathy, after whom she was named. While touring all through Europe, they found themselves at Princess Diana’s funeral procession and service. Unfortunately, a serious car accident forced Kathy into physical therapy for a long time. Still, her fearlessness pushed her to swim over 300 miles at the YMCA, getting her back into the condition she once was before her accident; this was written about in numerous newspapers. She was married for 58 years and had two sons. Kathy and her husband, Tom, enjoyed gardening on their two acres of land.
The sharing of life stories at Northville continued with Mary Ann. Mary Ann was the person you went to if you needed career advice, college guidance, counseling or any kind of help. She helped many young people with learning disabilities to achieve success in their lives. Mary Ann was a professor at the University of Michigan, Eastern University, Detroit Mercy and was the director of counseling at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She was an accomplished piano player and teacher, with many of her students going on to play in various orchestras around the U.S. Mary Ann was a leader in her church and a pillar of the community; she was always there whenever someone needed help.
The International Women’s Day celebration continued with stories about Doris. Doris and her husband, Joe, have been married for 70 years. Being the mother of 10 children – eight girls and two boys – kept Doris on her toes! They had five children in the 1950s and five in the 1960s. Doris and Joe lived in northwest Detroit, and their children played with the children of Motown greats, such as Gladys Knight. Doris and Joe went to all of the Notre Dame games (it was Joe’s alma mater), and they traveled all over for the games; they were even in the stands when the movie Rudy was filmed! Doris and her loving beau traveled all over the world as well, and she has many lovely stories to tell about their adventures. Doris loves music and found time to take guitar, piano, harp and voice lessons. If all that was not enough, Doris was also a Montessori teacher and taught until she was 75 years old!
About Anthology Senior Living
Anthology Senior Living, makes it our mission to provide a unique, individualized senior living experience for our residents. We offer the best in care and hospitality, so each resident can live their life on their terms. Each member of our team is committed to making a difference in the lives of our residents and their families.
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