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Westminster-Canterbury celebrates 25th anniversary

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Some of Westminster-Canterbury’s original board of trustee members are now residents. From left, Bob Kern, Dolly Glaize (in yellow), Mary Robinson, and Farley Massey, far right, pose with Bill Lawrence III, the son of William Lawrence Jr, who made the initial land donation for the community. — Courtesy photo/Westminster-Canterbury

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More than 400 guests attended a gala for the 25th anniversary of Westminster-Canterbury. Fran White, left, and Sue Jones talk at the 25th anniversary gala. — Courtesy photo/Westminster-Canterbury

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The Westbury Choristers, a group of about 30 residents, sang patriotic songs as part of the 25th anniversary program. The resident singing group formed in 2004 and frequently entertains the community at events. — Courtesy photo/Westminster-Canterbury

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Seeing the conditions endured by her parents in an out-of-town nursing home, Dolly Glaize knew she wanted to help create something better for members of the older generation.

The 91-year-old was a founding member of the Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury Board of Trustees. On Friday, Glaize -- now a resident of the Winchester continuing care community -- was celebrating its 25th anniversary.

According to a news release from Westminster-Canterbury, parishioners at Christ Episcopal Church started planning the community nearly 30 years ago, and land was donated for the site by the family of William H. Lawrence Jr. in 1982. It is now affiliated with both the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.

Nearly 400 people live in the independent living cottages and apartments, assisted-living apartments and the health center, according to the news release.

An anniversary celebration Friday included speakers, music and a lot of food.

Glaize, who started in the independent living section of Westminster-Canterbury before moving into assisted living, said she represented the Presbyterian church, and served as board secretary.

She said she knew back then she would eventually be a resident. Glaize said she would go to Petersburg to visit and take care of her parents, who shared a room in a nursing home.

"Poor Mother and Daddy," Glaize said. "I said, 'That's not for me.'"

She wanted to help create something better for seniors, "and we got it."

Mary Robinson was also a founding board member.

"I was on the building committee and chairman of the original decorating committee," she said. "And, it's been a labor of love."

Robinson, who only moved into the facility last month, decided to help plan the retirement community after having difficulty finding somewhere for her mother to live.

"In dedication to my mother, I tried to make this a beautiful place," she said.

Her friend, Mary Lou Raymond has lived in an independent-living apartment for five years.

"I love the people, the staff, the facility," she said. "I can't think of anything I don't like about it. We're thankful to Mary and all the people that had the foresight to work this out."

Board Chairman Dr. Terry Sinclair was one of Friday's speakers.

Sinclair referred to the community's mission statement: "...[A] retirement community committed to enabling residents to use their gifts fully, live their lives richly, and enjoy with dignity the years that God has given to them."

"I think that's an appropriate statement, and I think one we're living up to at this time," he said.

Cottage resident Margie Sheppard and her husband had planned to move to Westminster-Canterbury in a couple years. His death in January changed her plans.

"After rattling around in a big house for a month," Sheppard decided to see if she could relocate sooner.

"I'm loving it," she said of her new home. "My biggest problem is deciding [on] which of the myriad activities that are available to do that day."

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