Recipe for Life

•Remember to give thanks •Never rake leaves again •Share holiday traditions with friends •Hot home-cooked meals served by a cozy fireplace •No more housework •Enjoy month to month rent with utilities & cable TV •Greater security •Sing carols with my friends •Have the family over for holiday meals •Celebrate life •Stroll the Village Art Gallery and view new monthly artists •Expand my knowledge of computers •Live my life as I design it •Exercise my body and my mind •Convenient transportation to shopping and my appointments •Move to Pines Village apartments

Maxine Phillips
Resident Spotlight
Volunteering has always defined Maxine Philips. “I have to feel like I’m contributing,” says the energetic septuagenarian whose families have contributed so much to the Valparaiso area. Her great, great grandfather served in the American Revolution which spurred Maxine to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she is now serving as regent for the local Chapter. While serving as president of the Porter County Council of Church Women, Maxine’s mother, Mary E. Bartz, helped found Whispering Pines Health Care Center. Because the endeavor to create such a nursing care facility in Valparaiso was so important to her mother, Maxine today serves as treasurer for the Porter County Council of Church Women. At First Christian, Disciples of Christ Church, Maxine has served as deacon, elder, treasurer and trustee. These days she leads the church’s Christian women’s fellowship group. While staying home to raise three children, Maxine took evening classes and received her BS in education. “My father insisted his daughters have a way to support themselves in case it became necessary,” she says. In 1988 Maxine went to work at Health and Oncology and remained for the next 20 years. A few years after her husband’s and sister’s deaths, Maxine moved to Pines Village. Although it was not easy to leave the house she’d lived in for so long, she also didn’t like being alone. “I did not want to be a burden to my children,” she says. “They were always concerned when I was in my house.” Now that she’s at Pines Village, she’s eating better while doing a lot less cooking, thanks to the meals served in the sun-filled dining room.

Rita Duncan
Staff Spotlight
Many Pines Village residents never see one of their community’s most important employees. And for her part, when Rita Duncan sees residents, it’s often in a much different light from other staff members. Rita works the midnight shift, taking charge of a range of maintenance jobs and providing security for the Pines Village complex while residents sleep. Because she is the first responder to problems or emergencies residents may face in the wee hours, she often encounters them without the make-up and clothing – even the wigs and dentures – they would normally wear during the day. But even though she may not later recognize the residents she has helped, she feels a closeness to them that makes her ready to respond to any situation at a moment’s notice. Her shifts can get long, so Rita checks the refrigerators and coolers several times a night – but not to snatch a midnight snack. She is simply making sure the equipment has not broken down. If it does, she must immediately get the food into a working unit. Without a quick response, Pines Village would lose thousands of dollars’ worth of meat, produce and dairy items. It’s a satisfying and rewarding job, Rita says. It can be intense, for example when multiple emergency calls come in at once. And that happens, she says with a knowing but confident smile. Her confidence comes from trust in Pines Village’s core philosophy and the quality of its staff. “We work as one great family,” Rita says. “Residents know they can count on us at any time.”

In her life beyond Pines Village, Rita juggles as wide a range of activities as on the job. As a historical genealogical researcher for Native American tribes of the Great Lakes region, she helps clients locate ancestors and studies the movements of native peoples. She has given talks on Native American culture for over three decades. Rita is three-quarters Native American herself, with family lines in both the Lenape and Odawa Ottawa peoples. She also has a French-Canadian grandmother and a German grandfather, her personal history reflecting the intersections of Europeans and Native Americans she explores in her research. Rita plays the mountain dulcimer with her family of musicians, practices karate and has been a wood carver for almost half a century. “I still have all my fingers,” she declares proudly.

With the Indiana sorority Tri Kappa, she has been president of two chapters -- the Iota chapter and later the Beta chapter. And she has also served as a chapter J president of PEO, and served as secretary to the International President of PEO. The extensive involvement in her community reflects the deep ties she has here. Maxine’s grandfather settled just east of the city in the 1870s, in the area of Washington Township bisected by the modern road that bears his name, Bartz Road. Her parents owned Home Ice Company, later known as Clover Leaf Dairy. After graduating from Valparaiso High School and completing a year at Indiana University, Maxine married Phil Philips. Phil taught school, worked at Midwest Steel and spent 22 years in the appliance business.

“Pines Village has made me feel like an independent person.”

“Residents know they can count on us at any time.”
The life-long Northwest Indiana resident married her high school sweetheart Ronald. They live on and work a small farm with help from their six children and 12 grandkids. Living on the farm, it turns out, keeps Rita in good practice for dealing with the variety of responsibilities she handles at Pines Village. “Being a farmer’s wife, you learn to do a lot of things,” she says. “You have to decide what has to be done and you have to respond quickly.” And she’s good at that. Just ask any Pines Village resident who has relied on her help in the middle of the night.

Maxine plays bridge and euchre with fellow residents and has even taken to newer technologies. She’s hooked on computer games like solitaire, so much so that she feels lost without them. “If the computer goes down, it’s like my arm is gone,” she says. And of course Maxine continues her tradition of volunteerism at her new home. She is on the Pines Village resident council and she serves as a corridor representative. She is grateful for her new friends and for the community they share. “It’s just a wonderful place to live,” Maxine says. “Pines Village has made me feel like an independent person.”

* To read the Maxine and Rita’s stories in their entirety, please go to

Pines Village Retirement Communities 3303 Pines Village Circle Valparaiso, Indiana 46383

We Celebrate Life
Experience Pines Village Retirement Communities not-for-profit difference first-hand where we put people before profits. Quality, not earnings, is how we measure our success. Stop on by, order a pumpkin pie and meet our amazing residents and staff. Call Kathy Sheely anytime at 219.465.9918 or email us at

and welcome you to celebrate with us…
Community Calendar: Friday, December 2 Holiday Bazaar, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The bazaar is a unique selection of gift items, from local retailers and crafters, for every person on your list. Stop by and get a start on your holiday shopping. Throughout the holiday season Cookies & Pies, 219.465.1591 Since 1983, Pines Village residents have had a yummy little secret – fabulous food. Lucky for you we’ve decided to share our fortune by offering scrumptious fresh baked cookies & pies to everyone. Just call us to order your cookies and pies as holiday gifts or for family gatherings.

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