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Supporting ‘zestfulness’ for 46 years: ‘Rolla could use a retirement home.’

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A newspaper article from the Rolla Daily News, covering the groundbreaking for Rolla Homelife.[/caption]

A safe and comfortable retirement community for seniors. This was the suggestion made by the X.Y.Z. Club of Rolla’s First Presbyterian Church in 1972. After some initial research, a legitimate need was uncovered, and a community-wide committee was formed under the chairmanship of Hugh R. Berry, a member of The Presbyterian Homes of Missouri Inc. Board of Trustees.

The rest is history.

Supporters in Rolla and the surrounding area raised $150,000 in “seed money” to make it possible for Presbyterian Homes of Missouri trustees to get the complex started. The funds helped purchase seven-and-a-half acres at the east edge of Ber Juan Park and secure a general contract with Loughridge Brothers for the first 38-room unit.

Rolla Presbyterian Manor, which was first called Rolla Homelife, opened its doors to residents in January 1974. Two years later, 16 apartments were built, and in 1984, the community’s 30-bed skilled nursing center opened.

As the Presbyterian Times wrote in March 1972, “... Homelife centers are unique. They offer a Christian family atmosphere to residents at a reasonable rate, and they provide comfortable and dignified living quarters in the potentially zestful years after retirement.”

These were just a few of the qualities Cheryl Koeteritz was drawn to when considering Presbyterian Manor for her grandmother. After being involved with Rolla’s Presbyterian Church and seeing what the campus had to offer, Cheryl suggested to her mother, Betty Lemp, that they move her grandma, Norma Whiting, into Presbyterian Manor’s long-term care. After visiting and falling in love with the atmosphere, they did just that. Betty and her husband sold their home in St. Louis and moved with Norma to Rolla. Norma was the third person to move into the brand new long-term care area.

“My mother loved living here. She made many, many friends,” said Betty.

A love for Presbyterian Manor was something the family shared. Betty recently moved into Presbyterian Manor and feels right at home.

“I love living here,” said Betty. “Rolla Presbyterian Manor has been a mainstay for our family – and not just for my mom and I. My daughters in-laws both lived here, too. It just seems like one big family.”

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The front page of Presbyterian Times, which covered the beginning of the building stage of Rolla Homelife in March 1972.[/caption]

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