A Family Tradition, 40 Years in the Making

February 04, 2015


“You talk about an inspired life? Over 16 years my mother’s life was truly inspired by Rydal Park.” So says Helen Helmick-Waite, a second-generation Rydal Park resident who, in addition to her extensive volunteer working the greater Abington Township, has spent these last two years involved with everything from committees like Residents Council to social programs and volunteerism.

“We used to have Thanksgiving for the family here. Her place at Rydal Park was the first stop for great-grandbabies on the way home from being born. She really was the matriarch of the family.”

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, Rydal Park has begun to welcome a growing number of second- and even third-generation residents to its beautiful campus in Abington Township. As you listen to these residents’ stories, you start to understand what makes Rydal Park such a desirable place to live, and just how it earned its reputation as a well-liked and well-established Continuing Care Retirement Community.

Kathe Grebe is a third-generation resident. “My grandmother was here, and my mother lived in the Woodside apartment building when it first opened. I used to visit them at least once or twice a week. With each generation, I’ve seen Rydal Park grow. Some of the staff from those days still work here and they remember me, which is neat.”

Kathe’s time at Rydal Park has been divided between the computer lab, gardening, swimming, chorus, program committee, and being a Resident Ambassador.

“There’s just so much to do that I sometimes have trouble prioritizing!” – Kathe Grebe

Second-generation resident Jane Bunting prefers a more relaxed pace of life, and recalls visiting her mother often.

“I hung out with her all of the time… we would sit together and just talk and laugh. Other times we’d pick her up and go to the shore.” – Jane Bunting

Now that she’s a resident, Jane enjoys her privacy – which she feels they have in the Parkside apartment home they selected. Her husband John agrees, “Parkside is terrific. It’s like living in the presidential suite of a good hotel.”

“Everyone’s got their own path, and that’s one of the best things about being here,” says second- generation resident Sue Castle. “You can come here and be yourself.” She remembers visiting her mother fondly, but at the same time, she says, “I’m looking forward to improving all the time. I feel like I’m my own generation.”

On the other hand, 10-year resident Lorraine Alexander came here with her husband, Ben, “because my mom lived here, and we knew it was top notch.”

While her mom enjoyed playing bridge with friends and spending time with family, Lorraine also values the programming. In particular, “the World Religions classes, Speaker Series, and swimming pool classes are terrific,” she states. She feels a deep sense of pride and tradition.

“My mother had excellent taste! The community has only improved over the years and it is very financially stable, a fact people should really know about when they are shopping around.” – Lorraine Alexander

In fact, a sense of pride is the common thread among this diverse group of residents – pride not only in their own family’s Rydal Park tradition, but in the community, the amenities, and above all, the people.