Active and Interesting People
We are a vibrant community of talented, interesting and engaged people who bring their passion and personality to Copeland Oaks…and even discover new passions after they arrive!
Meet the People of Copeland Oaks
Our residents have such unique talent that we want to tell the world! Each month we will profile a Copeland Oaks resident that brings light and joy to our community.
Meet the Greeter, Carol Topping
Carol has called Copeland Oaks home since moving here with her husband, John, in 2012. Carol is known around campus for her beautiful handmade greeting cards that can be found in the Copeland Oaks Gift Shop.
- Art Education Chair for the Art Committee
- Loves to learn and would go back to school in a minute
- When she’s not crafting she can be found reading
- Took first place at the Regional Art Show for one of her Zentangle designs
Carol’s love for art, drawing and creating started when she was a little girl. It blossomed when she studied art and psychology at Ohio Wesleyan University. Carol’s psychology degree led her to a position with the Bureau of Disability Determination in Columbus. Realizing that she was not passionate about her job with state government, Carol returned to Ohio Wesleyan and worked in academic admissions. It was there, as she counseled students, that she was called to the ministry and enrolled in the Methodist Theological Seminary in Delaware, Ohio.
After being ordained, Carol was appointed assistant pastor at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church where she served until 2010. She continues to be a Spiritual Director. “I help people to see where God is working and help them to be aware of God in their everyday lives,” she explained.
Throughout her professional career, Carol’s love of art simmered. It was during a weekend ministry retreat that she found her niche for card crafting. The card crafting class during the retreat inspired her to buy a stamp and ink, and the rest is history.
“I enjoy creating handmade cards, and I never have to go out and buy a greeting card,” she joked.
Carol’s husband, John, gave her full use of the large space in their Copeland Oaks villa. “When John said he wasn’t going to use any of the basement in the villa, I jumped on that!” she laughed. Neatly organized with all of her crafting essentials, the basement focal point is a large work table where she creates her exquisite cards and other impressive craft items.
Carol is involved in a myriad of classes offered at the Copeland Oaks Creativity Center. One of her new ventures is intuitive painting, the practice of freeing your creative self using many layers of different colors.
Some of the Copeland Creativity Center Classes Carol enjoys include Photography, Watercolors, Ikebana, and Quilting. She has also introduced several new classes to the Creativity Center menu.
After visiting retirement communities in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and throughout the northeast, Carol and John choose Copeland Oaks.
“We couldn’t find any place that beat Copeland. Copeland has it all and is a community of friends. It is just more loving and people really care about you here,” she said.
Meet the Woodsman, Don Danford
Carving out his place at Copeland Oaks:
- 2-year Copeland Oaks Resident
- Retired Police Officer and Superintendent of the Louisville Water Plant
- Facilitator of the Copeland Oaks Carvers
- First place winner at the 2017 Leading AgeArt Competition
- Restores old cars in the winter time
Every time Don Danford looks at a piece of wood, he sees an image.
“Carving is the easiest hobby in the world,” says Don who is the facilitator of the Copeland Oaks Carvers. “All you have to do is whittle away what doesn’t belong there and the image appears.”
His artistic talents are evidenced in a piece of gnarled wood he masterfully turned into a coiled snake. “We were working to repair a broken water line when we dug out a huge tree root. As soon as I saw it, the snake appeared around the root,” he remembered.
Sounds simple, but many of the images Don sees in a variety of woods are very intricate designs. Currently, his hobby has lead him into making canes and walking sticks, many of which he has presented to friends and family members.
One of his canes won first place in the 2017 Ohio LeadingAge Art Competition held recently in Columbus.
Equally at home with a chainsaw and a knife, the largest creation Don has made from wood was a bigger than life bear that he carved from a tree stump. He donated the bear to the University of Mount Union Nature Center in Alliance where he served as a volunteer for many years.
Always a man close to nature, Don farmed land in the Louisville, Ohio, area for many years. “The growing season was always very busy, but, during the winters, I enjoyed restoring antique cars and trucks,” he reminisced. A master of many trades, Don was a Louisville police officer for 14 years and superintendent of the Louisville Water Plant for over a decade before retiring. Don’s definition of retirement is a bit unusual as he worked for another 13 years as the custodian at the Union Avenue United Methodist Church.
Among his creations on display at his Copeland Oaks villa is a replica of a 1932 Model A truck. To make the authentic reproduction, Don worked 130 hours and used 8 different kinds of wood. In a tiny crate in the bed of the truck is a pig, one of the animals Don raised on the farm.
Combining his love of nostalgic vehicles and his woodworking talent, Don turned the golf cart he and his wife use for transportation around the Copeland Oaks campus into a replica of a Jeep Wrangler sporting an American eagle on the hood. Don can also be seen cruising around campus on his recombinant bike with Mindy, the couple’s Shitzu puppy in a basket in the back.
Although Don’s hobby has transitioned to making smaller items, he has built many pieces of furniture, several of which the couple is using in their villa. One of the most elegant pieces is a solid cherry hutch and buffet which features pegged joints.
Since moving to Copeland Oaks 2 years ago, Don is spreading his love of woodworking with other Copeland Oaks residents who meet weekly in the Creativity Center to share ideas and techniques and chat while carving. Don and Carol said they moved to Copeland Oaks because they, “heard such good things about the campus lifestyle from many friends,” says Don. “One of the best things we have ever done.”
Meet the Card Shark, Grace Berlo
The retired Methodist minister Grace Berlo has called Lakeshore Apartments home since 2005. She is a mother and grandmother whose loving spirit is evident to everyone she meets. What’s not so clear…reading what hand she’s playing!
- Graduate of Otterbein and Methodist Theological Seminary
- Former high school health and physical education teacher
- Often preaches at our chapel vesper services
- Plays bridge and pinochle with other residents
Grace learned about Copeland Oaks when, during her years as pastor, she brought youth groups to the campus for intergenerational experiences. She said, “I knew that I wanted to live there someday.”
Our very own card shark with a heart of gold learned to play euchre and cribbage in college and later, “got hooked” on bridge during her time as a homemaker.
Since moving to Copeland Oaks, Grace frequently plays duplicate bridge with several groups. She also enjoys pinochle.
At age 37, Grace enrolled in the Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio. She served Akron area churches for nearly 30 years. Although retired, she continues what she calls her On Call Ministry. “I help wherever the Spirit sends me – be it family, friends, neighbors, or people I have never met.”
Meet the Calligrapher, Paulette Roades
In 1989, Paulette and her late husband, Jack, moved from their 80-acre home near Lisbon to Copeland Oaks. They wanted to be near Paulette’s mother, who resided at Crandall Medical Center after suffering a stroke.
She came to us with great hobbies and interests – and has continued to cultivate more all the time. Paulette has authored several books of poetry and favorite quotes, always written in calligraphy.
Her calligraphy has graced many items throughout Copeland from name tags for events to unique Christmas messages for all of Copeland’s 500 employees.
After attending a book binding seminar, Paulette volunteered to repair books at the Copeland Oaks Library. She has taught classes in calligraphy, zentangle and other art forms at the Copeland Creativity Center.
“I could never possibly be bored here,” says Paulette from her villa studio. “Living at Copeland Oaks has given me the gift of time….time to do what I love.”
Meet the Voice, Dick Bashore
Moved to The Copeland Oaks Campus 12 years ago from Hudson, Ohio, where he served as president of City Council and of the Board of Education during his residence in the NE Ohio community near Cleveland.
Before retirement, Dick traveled extensively throughout the eastern U.S. as a sales representative to furniture manufacturers.
Transferred his many talents in business and his dedication to community service to Copeland Oaks as he is chairman of the Spiritual Life Committee and of the Copeland Oaks Computer Users’ Group (COCUG).
His special gift is his deep baritone voice and his joy in singing. He is a frequent soloist at Vesper Services, special celebrations and programs throughout the Copeland Campus, and is a member of the 50-voice Copeland Chorale.
He is known throughout the campus as “Mr. Technology” and is frequently called upon by Copeland residents to assist with setting up new electronic devices, untangling computer problems, and trouble-shooting Internet glitches.
Meet the Veteran, Alma Rigdon
After graduating from Sebring McKinley High School and the former Alliance Hospital School of Nursing , Alma enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, following the military paths blazed by her father and brother.
One of the first flight nurses, Alma cared for polio and burn patients in iron lungs aboard hospital planes from Germany to Hawaii
After discharge, Alma accepted a 2-year contract to serve as an industrial nurse in Saudi Arabia.
Upon returning to the U.S., Alma enlisted in the U. S. Army and earned her BSN while serving as head nurse of a hospital cardiac unit.
During her Viet Nam tour of duty, Alma traveled into villages to treat native children and mothers for which she was awarded the Bronze Star
As chief nurse in the 44th Surgical Field Hospital, Alma worked a stone’s throw from the DMZ in Korea.
Alma moved from her retirement home in Florida to Copeland Oaks to be near her son and enjoy watching her grandson grow up.
A resident in a cozy catered living apartment at Copeland Oaks, she serves as the librarian for the weekly Bible Study group and often visits residents at Crandall Medical Center. She is known among both staff and residents for her sparkling personality and contagious smile.
Meet Charlie Manypenny, Copeland Oaks’ “Best Golfer”
This month, meet Charlie Manypenny, who has been a villa resident of Copeland Oaks community since 2014.
Charlie is a retired computer scientist and programmer who is great at taking apart and putting together nearly anything. His friends and family call him Mr. Fix-It.
Since moving to Copeland Oaks, Charlie quickly became recognized for another passion – golf! During his first season with the Copeland Oaks Golf League, he walked off with the trophy for all-around best golfer.
Charlie always sports a winning smile and twinkle in his eye. In fact, he’s still hoping for his first hole-in-one…and he’s pretty sure it’s only a matter of time!
His wife Cynthia says that for Charlie, “Golf is a lifestyle, not a hobby.”
In fact, the lifetime golf club membership at the Sebring Country Club, the on-campus putting green, and the virtual driving range were all factors in Charlie and Cynthia choosing Copeland Oaks.
There are plenty of other activities that keep Charlie and the others engaged. He also competes in the Copeland Bowling League and is a regular at the Wednesday morning men’s meeting when the guys gather together for coffee and conversation.
Because of all these fun, relaxing and stimulating things, Charlie has four perfect words to describe life at Copeland Oaks: “I love this place.”
Meet the Producer, Virgil Springer
This month, meet Virgil Springer, who has been a villa resident of Copeland Oaks community since 1999.
Virgil is a retired United Methodist Church pastor and middle-school science teacher who still loves the periodic table!
Since moving to Copeland Oaks in 1999, Virgil has followed a new calling. He’s the producer! He helps produce weekly programs for Copeland Oaks TV. He loves this view of the world through the lens of a camera at our very own Copeland Oaks TV studio.
What led him and his wife Claire, who he married in 1962, to live at Copeland Oaks?
“My mother-in-law came to Copeland Oaks after she suffered a stroke. Clair and I saw the wonderful care that she received. We talked about our future and realized that if we moved to Copeland Oaks, we would not need to worry about care for the rest of our lives,” he says.
Virgil also got to live out his “inner architect” by helping to design the villa where they live.
But he especially loves being The Producer.
“Since 2002, I have also enjoyed being part of the growth and development of the Copeland Oaks television station,” he says.
“Our mission is to spread information and entertainment throughout the Copeland campus,” Virgil adds. “We have a great crew with huge creative talent.”
Meet the Puzzler, Bev Barnett
This month, meet Bev Barnett, a 26-year resident of Copeland Oaks. She’s a retired Spanish teacher who walks three miles every morning, sings in the Copeland Chorale and volunteers in our Copeland Oaks TV studio.
If that doesn’t keep her busy enough, you will frequently find Bev at our big puzzle table, piecing together the big picture while engaged in lively conversation with other residents.
“I love puzzles,” says Bev. “Some people think puzzles are a solo activity, but it is amazing how many conversations start at the puzzle table. I always make new friends when I sit down in one of the cozy Copeland Oaks lounge to do a puzzle.”
Bev adds, “People are amazed that I have lived in my Copeland Oaks villa for over 25 years. I just tell them Copeland Oaks is bienvenido!”
Bev loves taking long walks on the beautiful Copeland Oaks campus. She’s enjoys gathering with friends to hear good music. She loves gardening in the spring and summer. And she really appreciates the staff that’s always around to help with whatever is needed.
“We have it all,” Bev says as she places the last piece into the puzzle, steps back and enjoys the big picture.
Come Experience Copeland Oaks
We encourage you to visit and meet our residents in person. To schedule a visit, please call 330-938-6126.