Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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20180308 Palm Resaca Single Ladiesbest2The vitality of any Winter Texan Park is the result of the positive efforts and friendly interactions of its residents. A small core of single women in Palm Resaca Park have made a tremendous effect on helping to make the park run smoothly.

Single women account for more than 10 percent of park residents. These women have involved themselves in leadership roles and behind the scenes actions to help create an enjoyable park atmosphere. They have acted as office managers, board presidents, board and committee members and performed a whole host of other duties that have allowed our residents to enjoy many wonderful activities .

The matriarchs of this group are Helen Grant and Barb Killen. Both women are former university professors who have traveled extensively and lived very full lives. Helen (96) only gave up playing golf two years ago. Until that time she walked all 18 holes.

Helen graduated as a dietician then got a fellowship in bio-chemistry to work with the doctor who discovered Vitamin C. During her times away from the park she has been involved with a group of 50 friends from all over the world who have made a point of visiting all seven continents. When they finish each tour the group celebrates by having a pig roast.

Helen can remember going to dances in our Palm Resaca Park where the women all wore long dresses and sat on one side of the room and the men sat on the other side. Helen has been coming to the park for 30 years.

She has even taught herself how to use the computer and set up her printer. When I went to her house she was in the process of setting up her Direct TV box by herself.

Barb Killen, 94, is a former full professor of economics at the University of Minnesota. She is not surprised that there are a lot of single ladies in the park. She explained that women are usually more responsible for household duties and therefore it is more likely that a man would move if his spouse died. Barb and her husband had been wintering in Arizona before they came here. Palm Resaca became their new winter home because of what she describes as the warm ambience in the park.

“This is a very comfortable place for me,” she said. “I have made lots of friends. I have my independence when I want it and I don’t feel pressured into doing anything. Besides, the weather is much more moderate here than in Arizona with milder winters and summers.”

Barb is now a full-time resident of the park. She keeps in constant touch with her five children and many grandchildren. One of her daughters has even bought a house beside her in the park.

Caryl Unger has been a Winter Texan here for 14 years. She is a former high school department head. She remembers her dad telling her that the best way to get along in any park is to “have fun and stay away from park politics.” Obviously, Caryl didn’t listen to this advice because she has been a board member for nine years and is currently the board president.

She continued coming down after her husband died. She explained that she hates Canadian winters.

“If I feel sad and lonely, I can go out and find things to do with the many friends I have in the park and even develop new circles of friends when current ones leave,” she said.

She drives down from Ontario by herself. “It’s a long drive and I hate it, but once I get here I feel quite at home. It’s worth the drive,” she said.

Win Rowe is from near Edmonton, Alberta. She and her husband Doug had spent winters in Florida and decided to try Texas. When they stopped in Harlingen at the tourist center it was recommended that they go to Brownsville. After their first winter in Palm Resaca they were encouraged to come back. They thoroughly enjoyed the weather.

“The park residents and local citizens were friendly and obliging, Win said. “It’s always the people that bring you back. The park is really my extended family.”

She keeps in touch with many park residents all year long. After her husband died, Win decided she would still come down. “You keep on living,” she said. “Life goes on. If you don’t go with the flow you lose it. You lose life. I dread the day when I can’t come down.”

Carole Peters is a single lady from Wisconsin who has only been in the park for a short while. Her husband died recently and she came to the park because of her cousin Gene Dombrowsky who is also a winter Texan from Wisconsin. Carole is related to several people in the park. She has grown-up children at home, but they lead busy lives. In our park she has made many friends and got involved with a lot of the park activities.

At first glance, Carole seems like a shy and reserved person but she has a wealth of experience to offer. She has a wide background in researching, managing and coordinating projects. She worked at a facility to help transition at-risk youth back into their community. She also helped to co-manage the Appleton Farmers Market for several years and has been involved with Habitat for Humanity.

Although she is a relatively new stockholder at Palm Resaca Park she wants to continue using her God-given talents in helping to make the park a better place. She has put her name forward to being elected to the new board of directors next month.

Teddi Wheeler came to Palm Resaca Park in 2002 with her husband John. When he died in 2008 she continued to come down and is now a full-time resident. She believes there are hundreds of ladies up North who have lost their spouses and have no idea what a fulfilling life there can be for them living in a Winter Texan park.

Because of her past work experience managing at IBM in Minneapolis and then afterwards at a major civil engineering firm, park residents encouraged her to run for the board of directors. She enjoyed her three years on the board and felt that she was able to fulfill several goals. She even took over as manager of the park for a few years and performed those duties successfully to the utmost of her abilities. “I love this park,” Teddi said. “It’s my passion. I have never turned down anything that anyone has asked me to do. This park has certainly fulfilled my needs since my husband died. I feel very blessed to be in this park.”

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