Resident Spotlight: Sam and Ellie Bates

A True Match Made in Heaven

Sam and Ellie Bates

Edna Mae (Ellie) Suggs was born September 9, 1934, in Vernon, Alabama. She immediately was moved to Columbus, Mississippi to her grandparents farm. They helped raise her until the age of six. Her father, Cecil Suggs was the Fire Chief in Columbus, who also ran a restaurant with Ellie’s mother, Vurla.

Ellie graduated high school in Columbus and attended The “W”, aka, the Mississippi University for Women, where she earned her teaching credentials. She taught school in Columbus for four years while earning her Masters Degree from Mississippi State. Upon receiving her degree, she was asked to take a teaching job in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her strong will and can do attitude along with her passion for kids (especially those at risk) landed her the job of Principal and Administrator for the Virginia Beach City School System. And though she loved to teach, she saw the opportunity to have more of an impact on the lives of more children an Administrator.

Samuel Andrew Bates, Jr. was born March 30, 1940, in Seattle, Washington. His father, Samuel Sr., sold industrial plumbing supplies along the Pacific coast for 40 years, and his mother, Anita, maintained the household. Sam graduated from Ballard High School in Seattle and went on to the University of Washington, where he joined a fraternity and focused more on the good times, instead of his studies. After his 3rd year of school, the Cuban Missile Crisis had occurred and the Vietnam War was heating up, so in order to avoid getting drafted by the Army, he enlisted in the Navy.

He began his basics in San Diego and was sent to the Treasure Island School in San Fransisco to study electronics. After about a year he found himself in Cape Canaveral on the Observation Island, a Fleet Ballistic Missile Test Ship, where he was a Navigation Equipment Tech. Due to his substantial amount of electronics training, he was then sent to Pearl Harbor for 2 years to do Submarine Navigation Training and Electronics Training. The next 3 years were spent on survey ships conducting deep water bottom surveys for submarines – half in the Pacific and half in the Atlantic.

Ellie & Sam on their Wedding Day May 1973

He was finally sent for training to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he met Ellie. They began dating in the spring of 1972 after a faculty party held by a friend of Ellie’s. They had actually met a few days prior at a friend of Sam’s house, who happened to be married to a colleague of Ellie. They were invited to make ice cream and as the evening came to an end, Ellie, who lived down the street, decided to walk home. As she set out, Sam got in his blue VW Bug and headed her way. He waved and tooted his horn as he passed on by. Ellie was no longer impressed. As fate would have it, the two were brought back together and on May 5, 1973, they were married.

Sam then spent 3.5 years on the USS Inchon, an amphibious assault ship where he went up the ranks to become a Command Master Chief Petty Officer. Ellie ended up being the ship’s ombudsman, helping the sailors families, while still running the schools and raising their son, Kenneth. Sam retired from the Navy on May 30, 1982. He got his business degree from George Washington University and and Engineering/ Tech degree from Old Dominion. He continued working with Navy contractors and worked 10 years for a shipyard in Norfolk, but when the Cold War ended, so did the Navy contracts and he was laid off in 1993.

Sam retires from the Navy May 30, 1982

Sam soon found a job at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, New Jersey, while Ellie stayed back to finish her obligations and sell the house in Virginia. She retired in 1996, and she and Ken moved north. Sam officially retired in 2006.

Over the years they had two separate acquaintances, one in Virginia and the other in New Jersey that mentioned Kirby Pines to them. Each had family living at Kirby that said it was a wonderful place to live. They received information in the mail and had spoken with Marketing, who is always quite persuasive.

In September of 2012, they decided to stop at Kirby Pines on the way to visit family in Texas and were put up in one of the guest rooms. Two days later, Ellie was getting her hair done, while Sam signed the paperwork. They have been happy here ever since.

Ellie’s uncle made all the arrangements and helped them move in with a crew he hired. With Ellie in her house coat watching her new home come together, 3 women came knocking, invited her to dinner and asked if they needed anything – she knew they were home.

Ellie is a firm believer that the Lord has guided them both through life and that opportunities have always come as a blessing. We are blessed that He brought this lovely couple to Kirby Pines.

Different Types of Hearing Loss

Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 has difficulty hearing. But some people may not want to admit they have trouble hearing. Older people who can’t hear well may become depressed or may withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. Sometimes older people are mistakenly thought to be confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative because they don’t hear well. Hearing loss comes in many forms. It can range from a mild loss, in which a person misses certain high-pitched sounds, such as the voices of women and children, to a total loss of hearing.

There are two general categories of hearing loss:

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent.
  2. Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. The cause may be earwax buildup, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery can usually restore conductive hearing loss.

One type of hearing loss, called presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, comes on gradually as a person ages. It seems to run in families and may occur because of changes in the inner ear and auditory nerve. Having presbycusis may make it hard for a person to tolerate loud sounds or to hear what others are saying. Age-related hearing loss most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally. Because the loss is gradual, someone with presbycusis may not realize that he or she has lost some of his or her ability to hear.

Tinnitus, also common in older people, is typically described as ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It can come and go. It might be heard in one or both ears, and it may be loud or soft. Tinnitus can accompany any type of hearing loss and can be a sign of other health problems, such as high blood pressure or allergies, or a side effect of medications. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus, but it can also be the result of a number of health conditions.

If you notice signs of hearing loss, talk to your doctor. If you have trouble hearing, you should:

  • Let people know you have a hearing problem.
  • Ask people to face you and to speak more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.
  • Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.
  • Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she said.
  • Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.

The Month of May Recognizes Arthritis Awareness

It’s odd to say Arthritis Awareness, because if you have one of the over 100 medical conditions that fall under the diagnosis of Arthritis, you are probably aware of arthritis every day and every night. While no cure for arthritis has been developed yet, much research has allowed medical science to improve its understanding of the causes of arthritis and to develop better treatments including new medications for pain and inflammation relief. Exercise that emphasizes stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular has an important role in the improvement and continuing function of daily activities. The Arthritis Foundation sponsors research, educational programs, exercise programs, public awareness and advocacy efforts in Congress. Through their bimonthly magazine Arthritis Today, they keep people informed on new products, diet, exercise and medications.

Arthritis affects over 50 million people in the US and two-thirds are under the age of 65. Over 300,000 families deal with arthritis in children under the age of 16. The Arthritis Foundation has been fighting juvenile arthritis and supporting families for more than 60 years. Every year they invest more than $4.5 million in outreach and research that advances treatments and will lead to a cure. Four of our exercise classes are sponsored through the Arthritis Foundation: Tai Chi Mondays @ 2 in the PAC, Basic Water Aerobics on Tuesday/Thursdays at 9:30, Sit and Stand Class Tuesday/Thursdays in the PAC at 11 and our Walk with Ease Class offered twice a year. Interest in the Arthritis Foundation exercise programs brought Mary Hand to teach classes at Kirby Pines six years ago. Kirby Pines has since become a flagship organization for the Arthritis Foundation.

In support of the Arthritis Foundation, we are planning a Bake sale on May 23 from 9 to 2 and our own Walk to Cure here at Kirby Pines on May 30 at 10:30. We need your help with baked goods for the sale, volunteers to run the sale, and customers to purchase our delicious offerings. Then on the day of our walk we will need volunteers to help at our registration table and walkers to participate. We will have a course marked for around the lake and another course for inside walkers. Everyone who participates will be eligible for Door prizes, surprises, and refreshments. Please join with our family at Kirby Pines to support the Arthritis Foundation with financial gifts and physical support. This year we have a special invitation to join the Regional Walk to Cure Arthritis at the Redbird Stadium on Saturday morning, June 2nd. Last year Kirby Pines raised over $1000 for the Arthritis Foundation. What a difference we can make when we team up to Walk to Cure Arthritis!

New Bistro Restaurant Now Open!

Soups, salads, burgers, hand tossed pizzas and more! Enjoy a variety of American bistro style dishes in Kirby Pines own casual dining restaurant. Open to residents and their families (complete with kids menu for those precious grandchildren), The Bistro is the newest dining venue at Kirby Pines.

Click here to view The Bistro menu.

We Celebrated Red Nose Day in Style

The residents and staff of Kirby Pines get into the spirit of Red Nose Day, May 26, 2016. The campaign, which was founded in the UK in 1988, was expanded to the United States last year. It is a fun way to bring awareness and funds to help children who are most in need across the country and internationally.