Resident Stories

We are blessed to be caring for and supporting the greatest generation of American pioneers and heroes. Please enjoy the resident stories we have below and then reach out to us to schedule a personal tour of our award-winning community.

Martin Monahan - Time For Takeoff

 

It’s dang near impossible to believe Martin Monahan’s age when you meet him. Quick with a joke, or to laugh at one of yours, he’s intelligent, well-spoken, knowledgeable, and interested in what you have to say.

He also has a comeback when people remark about how vital he is.

“I tell them, I’m only 93, I’m looking forward to getting old,” the resident of Naples’ Aston Gardens at Pelican Marsh says.

He chalks up his vitality to a lot of little things.

“I’ve been very, very lucky with my health. I have a few problems but nothing too serious,” he says. “I was always athletic and concerned about my health. My wife was a very smart woman, and we became vegetarians early in our lives. I think that has helped a lot with me being able to age well.”

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Monahan attended Latin High School, the oldest public high school in the country, with roots dating back to 1635.

But without any funds to go forward to college, he instead took a series of odd jobs until a chance meeting in the 1940s.

“One of my neighbors came home from the Navy in this bright blue uniform and told everyone he was flying airplanes,” he recalls. “I really liked that, especially the part about flying airplanes, so I went out that day and signed up for the Navy and became a pilot during World War II. I was qualified as a carrier pilot, which meant I released dive bombers, but not actual bombs, which was good because I didn’t like that idea.”

After 2-½ years in the service, he and his wife entered the workforce - him with the phone company, her teaching a marriage cass.

After two years of teaching it, his wife was laid off because she was married and the school feared she’d have children and not want to continue.

“We got laid off the same day,” he recalls. “She asked me if I wanted to go back to college and I said if I did we’d be very, very poor. Her response was ‘Go for it!’”

His wife’s advice turned out to be the smartest thing for the couple. Monahan went through a program to become a mathematician and statistician for GE.

“I enjoyed it very much,” he says. “I liked the work and loved the people I worked with.”

Monahan’s wife passed away 11 years ago, but he was in good health and lived another nine years at the couple’s retirement condo. He began to notice he wasn’t doing much outside the home when he began looking for a new place to call home.

“It took a long time to make up my mind, but I realized I had no social life,” Monahan said. “Married people tend to do things in groups, while single people have difficulty with social activities. This turned out to be a good choice as there are lots of coordinated social activities where I can do a lot of things and meet a lot of people from all over.”

One of Monahan’s favorite activities comes from one of the world’s oldest sports.

“We have a putting green that uses about 25 x 25 feet of area, and we have competitions between the men and the women,” Monahan says with a smile. “There is a lot of discussion between holes and it’s very enjoyable. It’s a difficult course with lots of mounds and holes, but it’s a challenge that is a great deal of fun and a great social activity.”

Robert Werba - A Hero to His Country And a Hero at Home

Born in rural Pennsylvania, Robert Werba has long been a traveling man. With 30 years in the Navy, 20 of those on active duty, he and his family bounced around from Pennsylvania to Maryland to Washington State to California to Florida.
When he and his wife finally settled down back in Pennsylvania following his retirement from the service, he took a job in the education field that saw him commuting 58 miles one way every single day.
Who would have thought it would take him until past his 83rd birthday to finally find a place where he didn’t want or need to keep leaving?
Born during the Great Depression, Werba missed being able to fight for his country in World War II by a few years, but that didn’t stop him from enlisting in the Navy as soon as he hit 17.
“I was in Korea and in Vietnam,” Werba reflects. “I am a disabled veteran; my hearing disability came from being on the flight deck of the old aircraft carriers.”
After three years in the Navy, Werba married high school sweetheart (they went to rival schools, don’t tell!) and started a family. Today the 83-year-old Werba has two daughters, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren (with more on the way!)
“Our two daughters were Navy brats and my wife was an amazing Navy wife,” he says. “We traveled all over the United States from the time I got of boot camp until I retired in 1969.”
Because of the Navy GI bill, Werba was able to earn a degree free of charge. He was a 37-year-old freshman at Penn State, got a degree in education, and had his first-ever job interview at age 41.
He took a position with a school district 45 miles due east of State College, which was a bit of a problem given he live 13 miles west of State College. He piled up 116 miles a day driving to work for a job in school administration before retiring in 1992.
His wife fell sick and passed away in 2010. The Werbas had been living in rural Pennsylvania at the time, 16 miles from the nearest medical facility. Eventually, his daughters told Werba he would need to move close to one of them to make things safer.
One of his daughters was living in Naples and let her him know that she thought she had found a place.
“Aston Gardens is a paradise,” Werba said of the Pelican Marsh location. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be living in such a luxurious place. Every day is a new adventure. I tell my friends back in Pennsylvania, it’s like being on a cruise ship. In fact, one of my buddies called me up and told me, ‘I know you’re doing well, but stop telling me about it because it’s depressing me!’”
Werba had foot surgery recently and found the staff not only knowing about it, but doing out of their way to accommodate any extra needs he had during the recovery process.
“I’m very thankful. This is the place for seniors for spending their retirement years,” he says. “I got my statement in the mail this morning and let me tell you, it’s worth every cent.”