Our community began with eight households who "caught the vision" of creating a neighborhood for ourselves where we could successfully age in place.
Our membership has continued to grow. We now have 23 member households.
Because cohousing communities are designed by the people who will be living there, it is important to develop community at the very beginning. One of the early meetings was designed around the process of making decisions by consensus rather than using Roberts Rules of Order or making decisions based by majority rule.
Step one was to develop ground rules for our meetings.
The Oakcreek Members
I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Oklahoma that despite its size, was the greatest place for a child to grow up. Fletcher will always be home. After high school I attended a semester at Cameron University, Lawton and then transferred to Oklahoma State University. It was there in 1969 I met the love of my life. Jim and I were married four months after we met and enjoyed 39 wonderful years together before The Lord called him home in 2009. In 1969 the U.S. was not only involved in the Vietnam war, but problems in the the Middle East were continuing to stir. Jim's draft number was 18. Rather than go into the Army, Jim joined the Navy and served on submarines for four years. It was during this time I was given an opportunity that had a life changing effect on me.
I participated in two dependent cruises on the USS Corporal, the conventional sub Jim was first assigned. I have found nothing comparable to hearing the horn alert a dive, hear the hatches being closed and locked, and the Officer of the Deck yell "dive, dive, dive". With the pungent smell of diesel fuel and sweat, that boat did a 45 degree downward pitch and my anxiety and claustrophobia took over. I realized when it leveled off that there was 100 foot of water between me and fresh air. I thought if I could live through this I might be able to do just about anything.
A year later the U.S. sold the Corporal and Jim was transferred to a nuclear sub by the time the second dependent cruise was scheduled. A friend and I had fun sitting on the deck sunning, feeling the wind blow our long hair as we stood in the conning tower, and eating steaks in the officers galley. Then I had the great honor to be sitting at the helm steering the Corporal when she dove for the final time under the commission of the United States of America. It was in that moment of pride that I realized this gal from a small town in Oklahoma could accomplish anything I put my mind to.
Our daughter was born while we were in the Navy. She graduated with her masters from OSU and has been employed by Penn. State University for over 15 years. She and her husband have one of our grands. Our son, five years younger, lives in Stillwater and owns his own company, He and his wife have provided us with the other two of our grands. These three grandchildren are the pride and joy of this Grandma.
I chose to be a mother first and foremost, helping financially support and raise our family. Because of this choice, I did not return to college. My field was in accounting and my education was the "school of hard knocks". I retired in 2010 while serving as Accounting Controller to a 99-bed hospital in Cushing, OK. Years of hard work had paid off.
From the moment the plan of Oakcreek Cohousing Community was shared with me, it was where I desired to live. Two years later I was able to join them. Living here has provided me friendships that I refer to as extended family, and security by knowing others are close by to interact with and provide assistance if needed. There is no doubt in my mind that I have made the right choice and that Oakcreek is where I am to be at this time of my life.
Mebby and Frank
We were both born in California. Mebby (nick name for Mary Ellen Bayley) is one of six children of great parents Mary & Harry Bayley. Frank was born in Northern California and was adopted by his wonderful parents Alta and Van. Mebby went to Rio Hondo college and studied business and accounting. Frank went to San Francisco State University and received a BA in Business.
We met while working at Levitz Furniture in 1973 and married soon after. We have spent our 38+ years together in the home furnishing business. We both worked on the wholesale and retail sides of the industry with many of the largest furniture companies in the US and Italy. In 1995 we opened our first retail business in Monterey, CA and ended our retail adventure in 2009.
We have two great daughters, Tiffany in Austin, TX where she lives with her husband Mel and daughter Bayley; and Anna who lives in Edmond, OK with husband Terry and children Trinity, Journee, Ashley, and Isaac. Our family is what brought us to Oklahoma.
We have watched and studied cohousing for many years and are so grateful to have found OakCreek. Mebby’s interests are children’s development, spiritual studies, and cohousing. Frank loves to cook and play golf.
Karen and Ulrich
Ulrich: Born in London, England, Ulrich Melcher grew up in New York City and Westport, Connecticut. Ulrich obtained a BS from the University of Chicago, and PhD from Michigan State University, both in Biochemistry. During his studies he met and later married Karen Joy Sandstedt. He was a NATO postdoctoral scientist in bacterial genetics at Aarhus University’s Molecular Biology Laboratory in Denmark, where daughter Sonya was born, and then in molecular immunology at New York University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Second daughter, Katherine, was born in Dallas. Ulrich obtained a faculty position at OSU in 1975 and has lived in Stillwater except for a sabbatical period in Strasbourg, France on a Fulbright fellowship. Currently, Ulrich is R.J. Sirny Professor of Agricultural Biochemistry in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Adjunct Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
Karen: A native Nebraskan, I left there after graduating from the University of Nebraska to attend graduate school at Purdue University. After getting an MS in Biochemistry I took a job as a technician at the Plant Research Lab at Michigan State where I met Ulrich. From Michigan we moved to Aarhus Denmark where our daughter Sonya was born. We then lived for a short time in New York City before moving to Dallas. Our second daughter Katherine was born there. We left Dallas for Stillwater and have lived here for over 38 years.
I worked making media, setting up labs, and doing various other tasks in Veterinary Medicine before retiring. As a retiree and before, I have been active in the League of Women Voters, most recently a co-president of the state League. Until we moved I also tutored international women in English as a second language and am looking forward to again having time to work with and become friends with more of Stillwater’s international community.
After growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania and attending Bucknell University, I went west for a doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. Short stints at Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University in Evanston and Louisiana State University preceded my 35 year career in the Mathematics Department at Oklahoma State University. I retired in 2007. While I am quite proud of this career in research, education and teaching, I have moved on and this is no longer me.
After tenure, excessive focus on career, a failed marriage, and counseling, my orientation toward life slowly evolved toward a better balance between work, personal relationships and spiritual growth.
I enjoy adventures with my two granddaughters who live here in Stillwater, piddling around in my workshop, carpentry, volunteering (AARP tax-aide and Habitat), drinking coffee, traveling, reading, meditation, nature, and hanging out with friends. I am getting better at being content when I am accomplishing nothing.
Fear of moving, sizing down and selling my house of 38 years was the last obstacle to committing to OakCreek. This is stressful and no fun at all; however, it is something that I needed to do. I am surprised that after just six weeks I feel that I belong here. The OakCreek Community is a promising new chapter in my Odyssey through life.
I grew up with 100 brothers and sisters! How could that happen? By the age of ten, I lost both parents. My sister and one of my two brothers went to live at the Charles Page Children’s Home in Sands Springs, OK with over 100 other children. It was a wonderful opportunity! I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to grow and to be in such a caring, supportive environment.
I graduated from high school and finished two years of college at the Oklahoma College for Women. I married Jesse Robert, an electrical engineering student at OSU, and we were married from 1949 until 1996 when he passed away from cancer. Jesse was an engineer with GE and we moved all over the country adding 4 daughters to our family. We lived in Schenectady, NY where my oldest daughter, Linda, was born. Linda lives in Stillwater and has two daughters. Then on to Sherman, Texas where my next two were born – Jessica and Georgia. Jessica now lives in Seattle, WA and Georgia in Little Rock, AR. From there we lived in St Louis, MO and Alamogordo, NM then back to Midwest City, OK where Roberta was born. Roberta lives in Houston with her husband Bruce.
When Jesse retired, we moved to a farm of 140 acres between Wellston and Harrah, OK. I have continued to live on the farm and was remarried for eleven years to John Thompson. We were recently divorced bringing me to Oakcreek.
I have always enjoyed cooking and home making. Neighbors and friends would ask me to cater gatherings for them and I had a small business by word of mouth. I was then in charge of the kitchen at the First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City from 1963 to 1966. I was an in-home Health Care Provider for the Department of Human Services and cared for a next door neighbor for 3 years. I then managed the household for an elderly gentleman in his 90s for 9 years in Oklahoma City.
I look forward to Oakcreek living and the community we will build together.
Fifteen years ago, at the end of my 30-year marriage, I attended a Franciscan retreat, and we went around the group to say our names. I said my married name, Husby. However, someone noticed that the last name written on my name tag was Borgstadt (my maiden name). Fighting back tears, I said that I was sorry, I no longer knew who I was! Later, a lawyer suggested that I take a new last name. I chose the name “Thomas” after Fr. Tom Smith, a Franciscan priest I’d met who impressed me with how he lived, in spite of having lost one leg—he has a zest for life that his smile radiates and an alive faith that his kindness reflects.
I grew up in Menomonie, Wisconsin, as a nature-loving lake girl (my parents had a summer cottage) and a snow bunny! I still miss the area. My former husband, Paul, and I went to high school together and then dated while attending the University of Wisconsin–Stout in Menomonie. Because of my love for children, I majored in early childhood education, but instead of earning a degree, I ended up having my own children, Wendy and Michael, who eventually received their degrees from Oklahoma State University. Paul and I lived in Weatherford, Oklahoma, for 11 years, which, in the beginning, proved to be a bigger culture shock than our later moves (for Paul’s work at 3M) to Belgium, England, and Brazil. In Brazil, our marriage came to an end, and I returned to the States alone.
I began the process of re-finding myself. I attended a Lutheran lay training school for missionaries, and then spent three years at a hermitage retreat center, Pacem in Terris, in St. Francis, Minnesota. During that time I joined the Catholic church, and then I journeyed on to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to spend time at Little Portion Monastery (where I took part in the Passion play). I returned to Minnesota, where my son, Michael, and his wife, Silvana, lived. After they moved to Chicago for work, I tried to move closer to my daughter, Wendy, and her husband, Rex, who live in Ponca City. They have seven children, who have become the little “loves of my life.” The plan has been to live close enough to be a part of their lives, with a bit of space to have my own life, as well. For the past five years, I have been in the Wichita area, spending most of my time as a fulltime volunteer at the Spiritual Life Center and attending a black inner-city church.
I love my family, silence and solitude, sunrises and sunsets, long walks in nature, helping people, reading, writing, travel, learning new things, and meeting new people while staying in touch with treasured friends who have been a part of my life journey. After many moves, it feels as if I am coming home to Stillwater, where I have fond memories of my children’s college years. I will be able to keep my old friends, as well as make some new ones.
I feel blessed to have found Oakcreek. You all amaze me! Michael and Silvana, who live in Chicago, have been an encouragement and help to me during this process. And, thankfully, Wendy, Rex, and my seven grandchildren will be close by in Ponca City. Yes, life is good!
Bob and Marcia
We are transplanted east coast people. Bob grew up in Queens, NY and Marcia in Wilmington, DE. Bob is a physicist, who went to Cooper Union in New York City as an undergraduate and got his PhD from Princeton. Marcia went to Antioch College in Ohio, where the concept of community was popular. She majored in psychology and went to Princeton to work in a project involving visual learning with babies. Guess where she met Bob. The first time Marcia had him over for dinner, when he said he wasn’t feeling well, she fed him shrimp fried rice and took him to a folk dance. Even with that start, the marriage has lasted 42 years.
After several years in Princeton, we moved to London, Ontario, Canada, where Bob worked as a postdoc and Marcia as a hospital technician taking cardiograms. While we were in Canada, we both became interested in running and bicycling. Bob ran marathons and began to measure road running courses. He also became interested in the metric system, which Canada was adopting at the time. One interesting event during our Canadian days was the Skylon International Marathon. The route went from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Bob ran the marathon and Marcia rode her bicycle as a marshal who helped runners in need of coats, Vaseline or other roadside assistance.
We moved to Ponca City, OK when Bob got a job at Conoco, writing computer programs to crunch data for oil exploration. He worked there for 22 years, until Conoco’s merger with Phillips. Marcia worked as a lab tech at Conoco for 12 years. When she was riffed, she returned to school and got a masters in Speech-Language Pathology. Marcia worked in the Ponca City Public Schools for 10 years.
Running and measuring race courses continued to be important for Bob. He ran marathons in Ponca City and Fort Worth and was part of teams that measured the marathon courses for the Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996) Olympics. Bob helped set up the system that is used internationally now for certifying the accuracy of road race courses, and for many years, he served as the Oklahoma course certifier (as one result, Oklahoma has more race courses that are marked throughout in metric distances than any other U.S. state).
Marcia continued to ride her bicycle to work, but also took up other activities, such as participating in a group which helped to move Ponca City to set up a recycling center. She became a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Stillwater, where she is now treasurer. Other interests include cooking, baking, sewing, making dangly earrings, and making unusual pots for plants.
Bob retired from ConocoPhillips in 2003. While he had to stop running recently because of a bad knee, he remains active in road running and course certification as a member of the Road Running Technical Council of USA Track & Field. He is also a life member of the US Metric Association. Currently, he spends much of his time as webmaster for the United Ostomy Associations of America and as president of the Ostomy Association of North Central Oklahoma, which holds support meetings in Stillwater, Ponca City and Enid.
We are interested in community and looking forward to starting a new phase of life at Oakcreek.
Nelda and Doug
Doug: 'Community' is the important part of this for me. I like the idea of a group of people you get to really know, interact with on a daily basis, work with, eat with, and develop a mutual caring relationship with. My wife and I have little prospect of family taking an active interest in our welfare as we get older. It appears to me that social interaction is a natural part of the co-housing concept, and I like that. There should always be people around to notice if we are having a problem, and conversely, for us to become involved with, care about, and care for if they need it.
Being able to have a nice small house with neighbors you actually know close by, to have a nice yard without having to struggle alone to keep it that way, and being able to take off on a trip and know that things will still be OK when you get back--these things I think are almost beyond value.
I am the oldest of four boys and our family came to Stillwater in 1957 when Dad became a professor in OSU’s Agronomy Department. I was in the 4th grade and grew up here. My first 'job' was a paper route. I then janitored on campus, and after returning from a Vietnam stint in the Navy, graduated from OSU with a degree in Entomology (the science of insects). I worked for one year in a downtown furniture store and 10 years in greenhouse and field research on the insects that bother alfalfa and peanuts, and then switched to a job in the OSU library. Since then, the only bugs I have dealt with are computer bugs in the library's system.
I am a library assistant in the ordering and receiving department (Acquisitions), where I handle the requests for new books that the librarians submit, check to see that the book isn’t already in the collection, and put a record in the database so that an officemate can send the order to a book vendor. I am also involved in checking books into the library’s catalog (its database) when they are received from the vendor, and in putting books that people donate to us into the catalog. I handle lots of very fascinating books (and also some very boring technical ones). I can retire from OSU in two years with full benefits, but hope to work for several more years after that. My Mom lived until the age of 87 and Dad is still going strong at 97, so I expect to be a part of the Oakcreek community for a good many years.
Nelda and I met and married after I started attending the Unitarian Universalist Church where we have both been on the board and always seem to be chairs of one or another committee. For years now, this is where we have nourished our need for spirituality and community.
Nelda and I like the idea of being environmentally sensitive and living fairly close to the land. We have become involved in a small way with Turtle Rock Farm, a center for sustainability, spirituality, and healing.
I am looking forward to having a good place to grow some vegetables and flowers. I hope next summer we can start our raised bed garden.
Nelda: The small farming community of Coon Creek, Texas in which I was born wasn't even on the map, nor did it have a post office. I spent the first eight years of my life in this pastoral community where I had to ride 16 miles, one-way, to school. My family then moved into Clifton, Tx. where we lived for three years before moving to Ft. Worth.
I graduated from Handley High School and went one semester to Arlington Jr. College, now the University of Texas at Arlington, before taking training as an x-ray technician at Harris Memorial Hospital in Ft. Worth. Upon graduation from this, I married my first husband and we moved to Logan, Utah where I worked at the L.D.S. Hospital for 2 years and 9 months while he finished his bachelor's degree. The next several years of following his schooling and career took me to x-ray technician jobs on the east and west coasts of the U.S. (Connecticut and California) and the north and south borders (Minnesota and Mississippi). We also lived in Guatemala for 4 1/2 months. Although I have had several "smatterings" of college, the only degree I have is a PHT (Put Hubby Through) from Utah State Univ. We had two daughters, one of whom is currently in Germany and the other lives in Seattle. In 1977, we moved to Stillwater. In 1983 our marriage ended.
November of 1987 was a big month for me. I began work at OSU Vet. Med. School in the media lab on Nov. 1 and on Nov. 27 was married to Doug Sander. I retired from OSU in 2001 and have since worked part-time as a care giver, both paid and for family.
Doug and I have taken several camping vacations, mostly in the western states, and have traveled once to Germany to visit my daughter Carmela. I would hope we can do that again sometime.
Doug is more 'gung-ho' for all this community living than I am, but there are many interesting and nice people in Oakcreek and I'm sure I'll warm up to the idea after we're settled in.
Margaret and Sidney
Margaret: Though an Oklahoman by choice, I grew up in New York and Ohio. My experiences with field biology and meeting Sidney Ewing led me to become an OSU graduate student studying aquatic ecology. After we finished grad school, we entered a peripatetic phase in which our 3 terrific daughters appeared, each born in a different state. Today all live on the East Coast. Back in Oklahoma for the 3rd time, I taught in the OSU zoology department for thirty-odd years and studied a parasite of fish. Teaching has been my passion, whether trips to a lake with our daughters’ grade-school classes, working with college students, offering an Osher Lifelong Living Institute (OLLI) course with Sidney, or introducing our grandson to horseshoe crabs at the beach. I’m given to enthusiasms and really enjoy talking/hearing about what’s going on in nature (including human nature) as well as in books. I look forward to getting better acquainted with the life in the wonderful setting at Oakcreek and living among like-minded folks who intend to look out for each other as we grow in community.
Sidney: A native of Georgia’s Piedmont, I grew up on a dairy farm where my father was a 5th generation farmer in the same county where my ggg/grandfather was farming in 1821 when the county was carved out of pre-existing ones. A brother’s son is a 7th generation farmer there today, and all three of my siblings live in sight of the farmhouse where we grew up. Meanwhile, I left Georgia after earning my veterinary medical degree, and I’ve studied/worked at Land Grant institutions in Wisconsin, Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, and in Oklahoma three times. When I came to Oklahoma first (in 1960), I expected to stay as short a time as possible, studying veterinary parasitology. Like Margaret, I became an Oklahoman by choice and have lived in Stillwater about 40 of the 50-odd years since 1960.
My career in academic veterinary medicine took many turns, and I enjoyed all of them. Following retirement (which I admit flunking) some years ago, I’ve remained active in my profession through OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Much of my effort currently involves veterinary medical history, an avocation I enjoy and which real historians tell me will be appreciated by scholars in future decades.
Margaret and I know it’s time to reduce our books, furniture, and assorted other accretions. Stillwater Senior Cohousing seems a good place to continue longstanding friendships and to build new ones. We like the notion of living light on the planet and of helping and being helped by like-minded people; and we like the ease that such a community will give us in leaving our home periodically to visit family and friends who are scattered far and wide.
I am really happy to our join the Oakcreek Community. I have been a phlebotomist for 50 years at Freeman Neosho Hospital, in Neosho Missouri. I'm planning to continue working part-time until my new “digs” are completed at Oakcreek. I have lived in Neosho since I was 9 years old, but regularly visit relatives in Oklahoma so I am familiar with the state.
I'm really excited about this new venture in my life as I will be able to be closer to my family, especially my sister, Kay Stewart who has been very instrumental in forming Oakcreek. My daughter and son-in-law live in Edmond, my youngest grandson lives in Norman and my oldest grandson and his soon to be wife live in Ponca City. I enjoy gardening and yard work as well as raising African violets. As you can see by the above picture, I also have a “very special friend” in my life and his name is Casey!
I came to Stillwater quite by accident 34 years ago, and despite thinking it was a short-term commitment, here I am. Stillwater has been a good place to raise 4 children, to be involved in the community in a variety of ways, and to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. I especially like being in a university town and enjoying the cultural, educational and sports activities. My original profession was dental hygiene. I taught in the dental hygiene program at Rose State College and worked in private practice offices on a part-time basis while my children were young and in school. In the late 80’s I had a unique opportunity to earn a Masters in Religious Education from Loyola-New Orleans which allowed me to be the Religious Education Director for the 2 Catholic parishes in town. Life threw a curve in the mid-90’s and I decided to return to school at OSU and I earned a PhD in counseling psychology. Now, I’m a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Stillwater.
The instant I heard about cohousing, I recognized that this was what I had been looking for a long time. The opportunity to belong to something bigger than myself and contribute to a whole that is larger than its parts—yet maintain my own sense of autonomy—is really appealing. Aging successfully for me means being proactive about healthy living and I am excited to be in a community of like-minded persons.
My children are in wonderful places to visit all over the country and world and I have 5 beautiful, smart, funny (no bias), grandchildren who keep me on the road. I look forward to continuing to work as a psychologist, to be active in the community of Stillwater, and to keep learning and growing. And I would love to play more golf—better.
I grew up in Neosho Missouri, a small town in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, a farm girl at heart. Oklahoma provided a lot of my education, preparing me to explore teaching and running a business for some 40+ years. I took advantage of travel opportunities to Central Europe, Scandanavia, Japan and Greece. Staying connected with former students, friends, step children & grandchildren as well as former employees and co-workers is central to my well being.
Now retired, I keep busy with strength training, playing golf, dancing, traveling, socializing with friends, deepening in spirit, and serving my faith community as a Stephen Minister and confirmation teacher. Developing a cohousing community seems an ideal way to meet my desire to age in place. I look forward to supporting and being supported by other seniors who share my desire to downsize, “live lighter on the planet,” and keep growing mentally and spiritually while celebrating life together.
I was born and grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas, the oldest of six children. I became a nurse and worked in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma and then specialized in gerontological nursing, working in nursing homes and home health. Completing a unit of clinical pastoral education led to working as a hospital chaplain for two years. Aging and spirituality have been the focus for most of my professional and personal life. The opportunity to work in a refugee camp in Thailand during the Cambodian crisis exposed me to the joys of traveling internationally. For 13 years I participated as a nurse in an annual medical mission trip to Guatemala. I am an experienced Spiritual Director and lead a retreat group in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I currently serve as Parish Nurse for three Catholic parishes. These experiences have led me to the conviction of the importance and value of community and spirituality during the senior years. Although I have lived solitarily most of my life, I look forward to sharing privacy and community in senior cohousing.
Is the life I’m living the same as the life that wants to live within me?
Pat and Steve
Pat: I was born and raised in Niagara Falls NY, and spent as much of my childhood as possible in the out of doors. This early tendency has formed many of my adult interests which include camping, hiking, tennis, swimming and even yard work and gardening. I enjoy the winter snows and “play” outdoors in any brief snow season that we have in Oklahoma. I value keeping in good health physically, mentally and spiritually.
I attended Cornell and Syracuse Universities and have spent most of my working career at Oklahoma State teaching classes and supervising student teachers in the Early Childhood Education program, with occasional drifts over to the College of Education.
My husband Steve and I have raised two children who continue to be our best friends. We see them often and keep in touch with Skype so we can visit with our grandsons “in person.”
I look forward to a healthy productive future serving our Stillwater community and participating with my fellow members of our senior co-housing community. Supporting our community members as we age in an enjoyable setting is an important goal for me.
Steve: I was born and raised in the small town of Walton NY along with 2 brothers and a sister. Dad was a building contractor, mother an art teacher. I was a math major at Cornell University, and taught high school math at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu for two years. I returned to Syracuse University where I met Pat and received a PhD in Geography. After two years at Eastern Washington University, we moved to OSU in 1971.
In the 1960s I spent many summers in the USA and Europe as a councilor/driver with a traveling camping group. Pat & I led two groups through Europe in 1967 & 1968.
We will soon have three grandchildren. Our daughter Ann will have two children and lives in Edinburgh Scotland. Our son, known as Fiddler Dave, has one boy and lives on Ocracoke Island, NC.
Since retiring from OSU in 1999 I have dabbled in consulting related to crop management software, and sports markets (mainly golf courses and products).
We are on the road chasing down grandchildren about 1/3 of each year. When in town I enjoy tennis, handball, poker games, bluegrass festivals, theatre, and helping with mobile meals and Habitat for Humanity. Cohousing looks like a marvelous opportunity to simplify and enrich the Stillwater part of our lives.
Mike and Julie
Mike: I grew up in Texas, New Mexico, California, and ultimately Oklahoma, but my Oklahoma roots go back several generations. I went to college at Oklahoma Christian College in Edmond Oklahoma. Medical school and Family Medicine Residency were through OU. My primary motivation for medicine was to help in under-developed countries. Julie and I worked in rural Cameroon, West Africa for two years and later in rural Guatemala for 10 years. In addition to clinic work, we were responsible for training of village health workers, midwives, rural dental technicians, and rural public heath projects including sanitation, potable water, adobe stoves, a nutrition center, and reforestation. Mike has worked as a physician in Stillwater since 1997, most recently with the University Health Center at OSU.
I have “too many hobbies” including ethno-botany, history, birds, languages. (I already speak Spanish and Quiche and am now working on French.) I am an avid bike rider and runner. I was selected by my peers as the 2007 Oklahoma Runner of the Year and have held numerous age group state records in distances from 5k to marathon.
Retirement plans include returning to overseas medical missions for 1-3 months a year, several bicycle rides across the country (southern, middle, and northern route), and being good grandparents. We love the idea of co-housing, of being good neighbors and of having good neighbors.
Julie: I was born in Texas but grew up in Oklahoma. I also love riding bikes and run. I am one of the top age-group runners in Oklahoma but am just relatively talented compared to Mike, but we are both known in the running circles here in the state.
I am just an ordinary person who happens to be teaching Spanish at OSU. I have been an instructor there for the past 13 years and really enjoy it. I actually majored in English in college and minored in French and taught both for a bit, but in Guatemala I learned and perfected Spanish. On furloughs home, I took advanced courses to keep my teaching certificate updated. I enjoy people, young children, being outdoors, and being married to Mike Kelly. I also play the cello and make necklaces (mostly in the summer when I have time). Mike and I have three grandchildren. Two are in Arizona but one, Ariana Jo (13 months), is in Edmond so I go down to baby-sit once or twice a week. I also have 3 “adopted” grandchildren across the street who are very special. I consider them mine and I try to do things with them from time to time.
Retirement plans are to follow Mike wherever he goes. That’s considering, of course, that I can still keep up. (He does slow down for me but I am expected to travel at a “decent pace” which I can usually do.) I think co-housing is a very good idea. people from different backgrounds can get along, can work together, and can enjoy one another. I have seen it happen for the two years we have been part of Oakcreek Community and expect to see it for the many years to come.
I was born and grew up in the Shenadoah Valley near Bridgewater, Virginia. Upon graduation from Bridgewater College at the end of WWII, I left the Valley. As is true for many young people today, I floundered a few number of years trying to find my niche in life. My first adventure was to train in Medical Technology at General Hospital in Rochester, New York. That experience and a year as a technician at Cornell University Infirmary convinced me that I was on the wrong track. While in Ithaca I was able to attend Cornell University, which pointed me more to biology than toward human medicine.
Illness forced me to return to Virginia. After recovery, I needed a job. I accepted positions as technicians with two research professors (one a parasitologist and the other a veterinary pathologist) at VPI (now VA Tech). I also began to work on a masters degree.
I loved the discipline of parasitology, but realized I needed additional training in diseases of animals. Before completing the masters in parasitology I took an opportunity to go to veterinary school at the University of Georgia. Consequently I moved to Athens, Georgia to study veterinary medicine. During the summers I went back to VPI to work on my masters, and I completed both the D.V.M. and MS degrees in 1955. Upon graduation, I accepted an Instructor’s position at UGA and simultaneously pursued a PhD in zoology, majoring in parasitology. In 1969 I joined the OSU Veterinary College as the first female full Professor. I retired in 1993.
I have always had many interests and projects including photography and birding (my first exposure was in a class at Cornell). I have made pottery on a wheel for over 20 years at Multi Arts Center. I enjoy reading, OLLI, gardening and computer graphics. But mainly I enjoy my friends and family.
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Anyone want to see my birth certificate? Shortly after my birth the family moved to Oakland, California. There were my parents, three older brothers and one older sister, soon joined by Uncle Elyphus. It was not unusual for an odd uncle or cousin or family of friends to be joining us in our modest home.There was always room for one more in the beds (sometimes the floor) and at the table.
I have fond memories of doing errands with my Mother while my brothers and sisters were in school and my Father at work. During those days Mother helped form my appreciation for beautiful things. It was not unusual for us to walk through the Salvation Army or Good Will thrift shops when we shopped downtown. On those excursions Mother taught me the difference between sterling and silverplate, crystal and glass, pressed, carved and etched, and so on. It was at a time, in the 40's and 50's, when you could buy a silver spoon for a dime or a crystal pitcher for fifty cents at a thrift store. We lived in a frugal household so Mother rarely bought one of those beautiful items. But occasionally she did. I got to watch her care for those precious finds and I still have some of them.
Mother also taught me the art of collecting. I remember fondly her fun collection of salt and pepper shakers. She took out the built-in ironing board and put glass shelves in the space to display those shakers, much to my delight. She helped my sister and me collect miniature porcelain vases from Occupied Japan. We loved the applied flowers and the occasional painting under glaze. We soon learned you have to dust them. I actually enjoyed that chore because they shined after the dusting. If you visit my house you probably won't find it surprising to discover antique vases throughout. My first find as an adult was a piece of Roseville pottery.I found it at a garage sale for $1.00 in the 70's.
Although my professional life was that of Counselor, Hospital Social Worker, and Administrator, my avocation was antiques and collectibles. The static nature of the beauty of the items gave me a sense of calm after a work day filled with broken lives and broken spirits. In the 90's with two close friends I opened ForGiving, a business of buying and selling antiques and collectibles, at antique malls. My friends soon dropped out but I successfully operated the business with much joy for about 12 years. At retirement I closed the mall booths but have continued to do estate and tag sales for folks trying to downsize their lives. Call me crazy but the sparkle of an old piece of glass after I've cleaned it, and the smell of an old linen after I've gotten the spots out and ironed it, are worth all of the effort of the tasks. I think it is a metaphor for healing and transformation.
So far I have organized three successful tag sales for the future residents of Oakcreek. Come live with us at Oakcreek and I'll help you downsize too.
I retired from Oklahoma State University in July, 2008. I was a librarian in the Curriculum Materials Library and the Edmon Low Library. Before moving to Stillwater in 1984, I was a children's librarian at the Tucson Public Library where I helped open several new branches during an exciting growth period for the library. I received a library degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson. The library school was housed in beautiful adobe buildings set around an open courtyard for students, faculty, and staff to use.
I had moved to Tucson after teaching grades 3 and 4 in Baltimore. I graduated from Concordia College in St. Paul, Minnesota, with an elementary education degree. My family had moved to Minnesota from central North Dakota where I went to high school. I attended elementary school in northern Illinois where I was born. My parents were farmers. Our farm in Illinois was wonderful because the 160 acres contained a pond, a creek and the Rock River. It was a perfect place for a child to grow up. The farm was a half block from the city limits of a small town, so I had the best of both worlds.My sister and brother-in-law live in Stillwater, as well as their son and daughter and their families. I have no children so family and friends are very important to me. Currently, I have two cats and two dogs, also important parts of my life. I expect that Stillwater Senior Cohousing will be the happiest phase of my life. I eagerly look forward to it!
Having recently retired from OSU, where I taught Spanish and prepared K-12 foreign language teachers, I am excited about new possibilities that do not require my rising at 5:00 a.m. unless I really want to! I plan to read all the books that have been on the shelf for far too long; I want to spend time in Costa Rica and Mexico, traveling at a more leisurely pace than I ever could when I traveled abroad with students; I look forward to once again picking up my hobbies of sewing and knitting; and I hope to live a more healthy lifestyle because I will have more time to cook, to exercise, and to rest. Oakcreek Community will be very important to me in my retirement, since I do not have any family in Oklahoma. I look forward to developing new friendships, to sharing common interests, to learning new skills such as gardening from my new neighbors, and to being of assistance to others in any way I can. Let the excitement begin!