It’s been nine years since a group of seniors met on a Thursday afternoon to discuss the possibility of creating a co-housing community where they could live and help each other out as they grew into old age.
That dream became a reality, and on Sunday, Glacier Circle Community celebrated its fifth anniversary as the first senior co-housing community in the nation.
“It’s a way of spending your retirement years in a nice community,” said John Jungerman, one of the residents, all of whom are in their 70s, 80s and 90s.
“We own our houses, pay taxes and share a common house,” Jungerman said. “We eat (at the common house) three times a week. Once a week on Thursdays, we meet and share our joys and concerns.”
Glacier Circle Community residents and supporters gathered Sunday afternoon for a birthday party at the Common House in the West Davis community.
The program began with an introduction by Glacier Circle Community Association Board President Stan Dawson. He introduced the other members of the community: Ellen Coppock, Ray Coppock, John Jungerman, Nancy Jungerman, Margaret Northup-Dawson, Sue Saum, Dorie Datel, Lois Grau, Joan Stek, Richard Morrison and Caroline Langenkamp.
Ellen Coppock described her original retirement dreams for the community. Among her wishes were eight to 12 houses, built around a central courtyard; a cooperative community; outdoor benches for conversations; an easy-to-maintain landscape and a community center for get-togethers.
“That was nine years ago in March, and we’ve met almost every week since,” Coppock said of the original meeting.
Virginia Thigpen also was recognized during the celebration. A retired developer and contractor, Thigpen shepherded the group through building the community.
“We still consider Virginia our fairy godmother,” Dawson said.
Dawson recognized many others who had helped make Glacier Circle a reality, including Karen Klussendorf, the part-time administrator for the community.
Datel spoke about a quilt she crafted for a wall of the Common House.
“I looked up at that big white wall, and I thought, ‘You know what that needs? A quilt,’ ” she said.
“I made one block for each of us,” she said.
The quilt features hearts sprinkled across the design.
“Those hearts represent all the people that helped us get here,” Datel said.
After Dawson took a moment to remember deceased members of the community, Unitarian Universalist minister Beth Banks led a blessing for the quilt.
Two baskets filled with fabric pieces from Datel’s quilting collection were passed around.
“I chose fabric that was modern, because this community is a modern idea,” Datel explained.
Every person present at the event took a piece of cloth and held it as Banks said the blessing.
“This quilt is love. It is love made visible,” Banks said. She spoke about the multiple connections within the community, the help provided when needed and the beauty and strength found in relationships.
“A blessing on those who live in those squares and have lived in those squares,” Banks said.
The program concluded with a big toast to Glacier Circle Community.