While it’s true that Gerda’s early life was difficult, her experiences escaping Hitler’s regime and starting a new life made her the person she is today: funny, spirited and strong. “My family’s story was one of survival in terrible circumstances,” she says. “But you know what? We human beings are stronger than we think.”
As a young woman living in Frankfurt, Germany, Gerda met and married Charles, an American soldier. They moved to America in 1955. “The arrival was so exciting,” she says. “The Statue of Liberty and the skyline of New York were glistening in the sunshine.”
Gerda and Charles had three sons, one of whom sadly passed away at 12 years old. Gerda and Charles eventually divorced and, later, she married Dennis Stover. Together, they traveled the world.
Gerda’s sons started a conversation about moving to a retirement community.
By 2012, Gerda and Dennis were making their home in California. Gerda had been through a quadruple bypass surgery and was experiencing severe knee pain. That made life especially hard since she was Dennis’ caretaker during a long illness. After Dennis passed away, Gerda’s sons started a conversation with her about the possibility of moving to a retirement community. They researched options near her East Coast-based son and she settled on Gull Creek, where she came to live in 2013.
Soon after moving to Gull Creek, Gerda had knee replacement surgery. “The stay here was absolutely wonderful!” she says. She credits the sta members with a big part of her recovery, which she describes as remarkable. How remarkable? Gerda now walks three miles a day!
Gerda is determined to live life fully and from a place of gratitude.
In more good news, Gerda’s cardiologist recently told her that she’s in amazing shape for someone her age. With both her heart and her knee doing well, she’s now volunteering here, writing birthday cards for her neighbors and slipping them under their doors in the morning. Gerda also plays in the Gull Creek poker club.
Gerda is determined to live life fully and from a place of gratitude. “Compared to what we had in 1945, I have much to be thankful for including a wonderful family. Yes, I am very privileged and lucky!”
Elmer Muth wholeheartedly believes in the value of a good education and how it sets the foundation for a good life. That’s especially poignant given that Elmer dropped out of school in tenth grade to work in the family’s poultry and egg business. Even so, he attended high school at night and eventually earned his diploma.
After high school, the U.S. Navy took Elmer from New York to Scotland, England and France. He was on a beach in Normandy when Allied forces stormed the shore on D-Day in June 1944. “We managed to survive the invasion,” he says. After he finished his military service, Elmer attended California State Teacher’s College on the GI Bill and graduated with a degree in Industrial Arts Education and later earned a Master’s degree in Administration.
Elmer got married during his college years after meeting his wife, Esther, at a roller skating rink. The couple had two redheaded daughters, Cindy and Debbie. (Sadly, Cindy passed away at age 35.) Elmer’s large family now includes one surviving child and eight grandchildren.
Elmer’s career progressed through the years as he worked as a teacher, assistant principal and then supervisor in adult education. “You could really move up if you wanted to, and I wanted to!” he says. After he retired in 1982, he and Esther bought a small, four-acre farm near Montgomery County, Maryland. After Esther became ill, they downsized and moved to Ocean Pines, Maryland.
“I have everything I need here at Gull Creek. I inherited a good attitude from my mother, and It’s all about attitude.”
After Esther passed away in 2008, Elmer was no longer a caregiver. He started pursuing his interests and was active in the American Legion, VFW and the Kiwanis Club. After he experienced a couple of health setbacks of his own, he decided on a move to Gull Creek with the support of his daughter Debbie and other family members.
Today, Elmer enjoys life at Gull Creek and participates in activities including Bingo and choral singing. He also attends the hymn sing-alongs at Gull Creek on Sundays. “I have everything I need here,” he says. “I inherited a good attitude from my mother,” he says, smiling. “It’s all about attitude.”
Here’s what other people are saying about Gull Creek:
“Now I have the peace of mind knowing that Mom is in good care. I know that around every corner someone smiles at her, talks to her, hugs her and takes good care of her. I know I am part of the Gull Creek family, too. I no longer take this journey alone. They are here for me, too.”
– Vicki D. of Ocean Pines, Maryland, daughter of Assisted Living resident
“When one of your parents passes away and was the sole caregiver for the other, the family is faced with a very important decision. After much research, Gull Creek was the best choice for us.
I credit the staff for saving my mother’s life. She’s been there for 12 years and has graduated from Independent Living to Assisted Living and now lives in Treasure Cove, the memory care neighborhood. She is treated with dignity and the staff provides for all her daily needs. Thank you, Gull Creek!”
– K. Higgason of Bishopsville, Maryland, son of Treasure Cove Memory Care resident