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Together Again: Siblings Living Under the Same Roof After 65 Years Apart

October 13, 2020

Jean Ohl, of Butler, PA, had been trying to convince her sister, Nancy Mowery, and brother, Jim Burtner, to move to the Concordia at Cabot Haven retirement living community ever since she moved in to her apartment in 2010. Little did she know, she would eventually succeed in getting both of them to move in to her building a decade later – during a pandemic, no less.

Ohl SiblingsJean, Nancy and Jim grew up at their home on Burtner Road in Butler, PA with their five brothers and sisters just about 10 minutes from the Concordia at Cabot campus. Jean is the eldest, with Nancy in the middle and Jim the youngest, and they have one living brother who resides in Virginia with his family. When Nancy moved out of their family home in Butler to get married in 1955, the three siblings would live the next 65 years of their lives in their own homes in the area with their families – Nancy and her husband Earl in Saxonburg, PA, Jim and his wife Charlotte on Burtner Road and Jean and her husband Edwin in Natrona Heights, PA.

When Jean’s husband passed away 2010, she knew she would be moving to Concordia, after living so close and hearing about the retirement living community.

“I just knew Concordia was it for me,” she said.

Once she moved to Concordia, Jean took full advantage of the many entertainment and activity opportunities she had access to, including the watercolor painting class – one of her paintings was even featured in Concordia’s 2020 calendar. After settling in and seeing all that Concordia had to offer, Jean began trying to convince her siblings in the area to move as well. After a decade, she finally succeeded when Nancy and Earl moved to an apartment on the floor above hers in April 2020.

“My main reason for moving was Jean,” Nancy said. “But we’ve known a number of people at Concordia, and we’ve never heard of anyone not being happy here. We also really wanted the security and peace of mind that if anything were to happen to us, we wouldn’t be alone or need to burden our kids with taking care of the house while we’re sick.”

To Jean and Nancy’s surprise, Jim moved to their Haven retirement living building in July 2020, in an apartment right next to Jean’s.

“I never had it in my mind to come to Concordia,” Jim explained. “I would come visit Jean here every once in a while, but after my wife passed away last year, it just hit me all of a sudden. I thought ‘Why should I stay here and take care of this place all by myself?’ So my son and I came to an open house.”

Since they moved during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy and Jim have only experienced Concordia’s socially distanced entertainment and activity options so far, but Jean makes sure they stay busy.

“Jean knows everything about Concordia,” Nancy said. “She tells us when to get down to the lobby to sign up for trips, entertainment or activities. She’ll say, ‘You have until Tuesday, now get down there and sign up.’”

“I say you should always sign up and go to something at least once,” Jean said. “If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to go back again – that’s ok. I think I’ve gone to everything there ever was at Concordia at least once – and there are still plenty of opportunities, even in the pandemic.”

Jim’s favorite pastimes so far have been walking around the expansive Concordia at Cabot campus every morning and evening and playing a new game.

“Every Tuesday and Thursday I get together with a small group to play bean bag – some people call it bean bag toss or cornhole,” Jim said. “I got to know all the fellas I play with, and we really enjoy the game and catching up with each other.”

One of the biggest benefits of living at Concordia, however, is how easy it is to see each other.

“Being here with Jim and Jean has been so wonderful,” Nancy said. “I just leave my door open, and they know they can just walk in whenever they want – it’s super.”

“We can all live our separate lives, but we still end up seeing each other pretty much every day,” Jim said. “It’s also nice having us three siblings here because we can share things.”

“Like when Nancy cooks and bakes and sends us goodies,” Jean joked.

The Burtner clan is happy to be in their Haven apartments, together again after so many years. They are looking forward to listening to Jean and participating in even more activities once the pandemic is over, but for now they’re happy to continue enjoying time together.

“It’s still the best move I ever made,” Jean said.

While there are many families like the Burtners who decided to retire at Concordia, many of our residents, patients and staff like to refer to all of our campuses as a “Concordia Family.” If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about the retirement living options offered at the Concordia Haven Apartments on our Cabot campus, visit www.ConcordiaHaven.org or schedule a tour today. Call Peggy at 724-352-5378 or message us through the contact form on our website.

To learn more about our other retirement communities in western PA, eastern OH or Tampa, FL, visit www.ConcordiaRetirement.org.

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