Resident Spotlight: Hugh & Banky Wilson


Forty years is a long time between “going steady” and getting married. The story of how that happened to Banky and Hugh Wilson reads like a Hollywood script. Separated after high school, the inevitable happened. Both found different interests and career paths. However, fate stepped in, and their story has a happy ending, just like in the movies. 

Ruby “Banky” Godhold’s young life was sometimes difficult; but despite overwhelming obstacles, she says that her childhood was a happy time, and she always felt loved. Born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, her family moved to Houston, Texas, but eventually returned to St. Louis. Banky remembers that while in Houston, she had her picture taken with The Cisco Kid. At age six, while visiting her family in Tunica, Mississippi, she became paralyzed for three months due to encephalitis. 

Banky sometimes missed school, especially during the fifth and sixth grades. She loved the solitude of home while her family was away. During one report, she was absent 23 days! Despite this, she maintained good grades. When Banky was nine years old, her parents divorced. She and her brother returned to Tunica to live with her grandparents, aunt, and uncle. There, life was good. In high school, she met and began “going steady” with Hugh Wilson. She was a cheerleader, was active in many organizations, and voted Class Favorite by her classmates. 

Following graduation, Banky enrolled in the University of Mississippi, becoming an honor student in the School of Business. She received majors in Business and Education in 1963. While at Ole Miss, Banky was a roommate with Lynda Lee Mead, who would be chosen as Miss America. 

Banky returned to Tunica and taught school for several years. She married a local farmer, and they would have two sons, Sterling and Bryan. Banky became a stay- at- home mom. She was a Cub Scout den mother, played guitar in a band, and eventually started and managed the Hollywood Café that she and her husband owned. After her children were grown, Banky divorced and moved to Memphis for six years. She returned to Tunica so that she could have a horse and animals she loved. She worked as an Outreach Aftercare Counselor with Region Mental Health which included weekly visits to the county jail to counsel inmates. 

Hugh Wilson is a native of Tunica, Mississippi and has one sister. During the 1940’s and 50’s, Hugh worked in the Blue and White Café which his parents owned. According to Hugh, “I was well known as a ‘short order cook,’ and my famous double cheeseburger, ‘the Hugh Jr. Special.’ ”

In high school, Hugh was active in all sports, played trombone in the band, was class vice-president, and was a Senior Honor Student. As President of the 4-H Club, Hugh took great pride in owning and showing the Grand Champion Steer at the Mid-South Exposition in Memphis! 

Following graduation from high school, Hugh entered Mississippi State University where he elected to study Accounting. He was actively involved in several organizations including the Air Force ROTC. Upon graduation in 1964, Hugh was acknowledged as a Distinguished Military Graduate which enabled him to get a regular commission in the U.S. Air Force. 

Hugh’s military career is quite impressive. He served five years in the Air Force including one tour in Vietnam. He was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross for a night-time medical mission during a typhoon. He was also awarded The Air Force Commendation Medal. Fortunately, he survived a crash that destroyed his aircraft! Following active duty, Hugh served five years in the Ready Reserve, and 20 years in the Air National Guard in various leadership positions, including Commander with rank of Colonel. A specialty in the unit he served had eight KC135 refueling aircraft. At retirement, Hugh was awarded The Legion of Merit. 

Hugh also had a civilian career in aviation. In 1969, he began flying for TWA, and flew all of their aircraft except the DC-9 and B-747. He retired in 2002 as an international B-767 Captain. Between his military and commercial aviation, Hugh has flown extensively all over the world! 

The Wilsons eating wedding cake
Married After 40 Years

In 2002, Hugh was living in St. Augustine, Florida, and decided to make a trip to Tunica. There, he became re-united with Banky, and according to Hugh, “Long story short, we realized we still loved each other and soon got married. We tell everyone that we just took a 40 year break.” 

Continuing to live in Tunica, Banky and Hugh enjoyed retirement. As members of the Episcopal Church, both served on the Vestry, and Hugh as president of the Rotary Club. They heard about Kirby Pines from the Dazeys, whom they met at a luncheon. After one visit to Kirby, they returned for a second visit and put down a deposit. They moved to Kirby in 2021. 

Banky is limited in physical activity but enjoys meeting with the Needle Art Group. Hugh is involved with the Ball Room Dancing Group, the Photo Club, and the Theater Group. He has also been Master of Ceremonies in two Kirby entertainment venues. 

“Since moving to Kirby Pines,” both agree, “we have met many wonderful people and made many new friends.” Banky recalls that while in Rehab, she had a birthday and received over 100 cards! Both are appreciative of the health care benefits, and declare, “Moving to Kirby was a ‘Godsend’! ” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident of Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Elsie Bloodworth


To know Elsie Bloodworth is to know someone who is friendly, always smiling and humorous. She is a person who can brighten your day with an encounter.

Elsie is always busy. Since moving to Kirby Pines in 2021, she is the “go-to” person if you want something done in the creative or artistic realm. This could describe her entire life, especially as she was a pioneer in paving the way for women to become recognized as being capable of becoming leaders in the business world. The accomplishments in her life are amazing. How could a girl born and raised in a small, rural community in Mississippi achieve the ultimate personal and professional life?

Elsie Stafford was born and raised on a self-sustaining farm in Winona, Mississippi. Life was simple and good. With great parents and grandparents, good food, three siblings and a helpful community, Elsie’s life was ideal for creating her personality and strong work ethic. According to Elsie, “I could write a book about all my experiences growing up. We grew all of our food and preserved it for the winter. My father provided the meat. Our cows produced milk for our family and supplied a source of income. Hog killing was a big event. Breakfast was always a big meal, and not unusual for our family to have quail, hot biscuits, gravy and rice along with jellies and jams.”

Elsie loved school and was very social. She had the same classmates for all 12 grades. “We had good teachers, and although I maintained a good average, my brother won many math contests,” says Elsie. Elsie’s leadership skills developed early as she served as captain of the basketball team and president of the 4HA club. She also ran track and sang in the glee club.

Elsie could not afford to attend college, but she learned of the Draughon’s Business College in Memphis. So, following graduation in 1945, Elsie moved the 125 miles to Memphis and lived with friends while she attended Draughon’s. 

Shortly after coming to Memphis, Elsie met and began dating her future husband, a college student. “We didn’t have any money to afford entertainment,” admits Elsie, “But we both loved to play tennis. We would go to the tennis court, and if it was dark, we spent a dime to turn on the electricity and played until the lights went out.” The courtship was brief, and they married three months after meeting.

It would be seven years before the first child, Steven, was born. He was followed by Terri, and then Scott. Elsie loved being a homemaker and mother. According to Elsie, “Our home was a ‘hangout’ for our kids and their friends. Each child owned their own horse, and I think the happiest time in their lives was riding in horse shows, such as the one in Germantown.” The family lived in mid-town Memphis and attended Eudora Baptist Church.

A Younger Elsie

During the seven years before her children came, Elsie worked at various jobs, including secretarial work at Western Union, selling real estate, and as executive secretary to a vice-president of First Tennessee Bank. As Elsie’s children became older, she had the desire to return to work and obtained employment with Innkeepers Supply, a division of the Holiday Inn chain. After seven years, she took the big leap and became a partner in Mid-America Hotel Furnishings which sold furnishings to hotels. “We helped the hotels put the total package of furnishings together,” states Elsie. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of the Branson, Missouri “boom”, furnishing 25 hotels and several theaters including those of Ray Stevens, Andy Williams and Wayne Newton. Her company also was involved with the Hampton Inns and other hotel chains. Eventually, Elsie sold her partnership but continued to work on commission. “I made more money working on commission than I did as a partner, and I didn’t have the worry of managing the company,” admits Elsie.

In 1995, Elsie and a friend started the Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) golf tournament with participants from the hotel industry, many of whom were from other countries. “Our money went to the Hemophilia Foundation. Through the years of the tournament’s existence, we donated more money to that foundation than any other donor in Tennessee,” reports Elsie.

One of Elsie’s favorite hobbies was gardening, and she became a Master Gardener, donating her time to help the various local gardens. Elsie also enjoyed travel, and in her work, she traveled the United States and to 13 foreign countries.

If there was such a thing as retirement, Elsie enjoyed playing golf several days a week and played in several tournaments. Her favorite was The Golden Girls Tournament. Elsie enjoys time with her adult children, her six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Elsie says that living at Kirby Pines has been an adventure. She is involved in many of the activities provided at Kirby, including the Art Club, Bible study, church services, various card games, and currently as Wing Leader. She visits residents in other areas of Kirby as well as being a part of the production staff for the Kirby Pines Theater Group.

When asked what she liked about living at Kirby, Elsie replied, “The residents are caring, and the staff is efficient. The food is outstanding, and I don’t have to wash dishes! I no longer call Kirby ‘home’; I now call it my resort!” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident of Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Steve & Linda Tittle

The Tittles


It was as though a “breathe of fresh air” came when Linda and Steve Tittle moved to Kirby Pines. Their youth and joyful spirit were a welcome addition to our community. After losing their only child, Brian, at the age of 26 to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), the Tittles were finally able to transition from life focused on survival to one of a “normal” existence. How did this couple who seem so compatible meet? Well, they lived only three houses apart!

Linda (Lott) Tittle was born in Selmer, Tennessee, in 1946, but her family moved to Memphis when she was one year old. They moved again when she was in the sixth grade, a move that would later become an important one.

Linda graduated from Kingsbury High School in 1964. She was a member of the Latin Club but admits she was not involved with many school activities. As an only child, she welcomed the opportunity to play with the neighborhood kids, occasionally babysitting with some of the younger ones.

Following graduation from high school, Linda enrolled in Draughon’s Business College and worked in secretarial jobs until her son, Brian, was born. Following Brian’s diagnosis at the age of three years, Linda (and Steve) cared for Brian until his death. According to Linda, “Everything centered on Brian’s care and comfort.”

Steve Tittle was born in a small town in Alabama in 1942. Steve describes life there as resembling the song words, “Coal mine, moonshine, or move on down the line.” Soon after Steve’s birth, his father was called to serve in WWII. Steve and his mother lived with his father’s parents; life with his grandparents was good. Steve was three years old when he was re-introduced to his father. 

Steve and his family eventually moved to Memphis, three houses from the Lott family. Steve graduated from Kingsbury High School in 1960, and then spent three years in the Army as a Specialist 4th Class, stationed primarily in Germany. Following his return to Memphis, Steve attended Memphis State University for one year. Unable to decide on a major, Steve chose to enlist in a steamfitter school sponsored by the Steamfitters Union. For 35 years, Steve worked as a steamfitter. According to Steve, “I enjoyed working with my hands, doing construction in chemical plants, installing air-conditioners, building boilers, and running natural gas lines for heating equipment.”

While Steve was in the Army, Linda became acquainted with the Tittle family, occasionally babysitting Steve’s younger brothers. The difference in their ages and the Army service kept Linda and Steve from meeting. According to Steve, this is how they finally met: “I had just returned from the Army and was talking with a neighbor in the front yard. He asked me if I had met the young lady who lived up the street, who, at that moment, was playing ‘stick ball’ with neighborhood kids. I told him I had not noticed her. He said, ‘Do I have to tell you what to do?’ I left my neighbor standing there and hurried down our street to meet a very pretty young lady named Linda.”

Linda and Steve dated for two years before marrying in 1966. Their first and only child, Brian, was born three years later. When he was diagnosed with DMD, Linda and Steve knew that there would be limited time for Brian to have a normal life. “When we found that his fate was sealed,” admits Steve, “we vowed to make the most of his early years. We went to every theme park you could name, visited museums such as the Smithsonian, attended special celebrations, and, of course, Tiger basketball games! We went until he couldn’t.” 

When Brian became homebound, a friend from church who was a nurse came to their home and stayed with Brian one afternoon a week, giving Linda freedom to leave her responsibilities for a few hours. That nurse is now Kirby Pines resident—Sylvia Statham! “She was our angel,” declares Steve. Sylvia became a good friend to Brian and, knowing that his favorite band was Chicago, arranged for Brian to attend a concert in Memphis AND visit with the band afterward. “Brian was on ‘cloud nine’ and refused to wash his hands for a week,” laughs Steve.

The Tittle’s Wedding Day

It was time for rebuilding for Linda and Steve following Brian’s death in 1995. One life with all the struggles and dreams had closed, and a new life with different goals began. According to Linda, “We became roller coaster fanatics; we rode the biggest and best. We were also heavily into line dancing, attending classes twice a week.” Steve adds, “We are past that now and hoping to make the grade as ballroom dancers.”

For 14 years the Tittles occasionally visited Kirby Pines. “One day, while visiting the new ‘L’ Wing, we loved one of the apartments and decided this was no longer a dream,” states Steve. “We moved in, we love it, and we have never looked back,” he adds. They are now involved in many activities of Kirby Pines, including the Theatre Group. 

When asked to summarize their feelings about life at Kirby Pines, both Linda and Steve agreed: “Not until we moved in and met the residents did we realize that Kirby has a hidden quality—special people live here! They practice the ‘Golden Rule.’ We were accepted immediately and made to feel like family.” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Phyllis Mitchell


In November of 2020, Phyllis Mitchell realized it was time to “let it go” and moved to Kirby Pines to begin a new phase of her life. From humble beginnings, she lived in a beautiful home for 25 years which she personally designed and decorated – a home filled with life’s treasures and memories. Located on beautiful acreage, the home had served on many occasions to host weddings, rehearsal dinners, and celebrations for family members. It was difficult to think of leaving! However, Phyllis and her husband, Jim Mitchell, had discussed and planned an eventual move to Kirby Pines. Unexpectedly, Jim passed away in August 2020, and Phyllis made the necessary decision. 

According to Phyllis, her move to Kirby Pines has been a blessing. “I was welcomed by everyone and quickly became friends with a group who laugh, love, and have fun. I’ve even found someone who loves to shop and someone who has renewed my interest in crafts. I meet with the Advisory Board every Wednesday as we discuss ways to improve Kirby Pines. But best of all, I meet with a group every Monday to discuss scripture and our ongoing relationship with God. I couldn’t be busier or happier.” 

Phyllis’s life began in a small town in Virginia located in the Appalachian Mountains. One can only imagine the beautiful scenery of such a location. Phyllis describes her home as being on a dirt road with a creek nearby and beautiful mountains surrounding them. There were many relatives living in the community, many of whom worked in her father’s construction business. Phyllis had several brothers and sisters; her grandparents and many cousins, aunts, and uncles came by their house often to play, visit, or help with projects. Her father played stringed instruments and taught the children how to sing the various parts. There were always many activities enjoyed by the entire family. This closeness, according to Phyllis, “Gave me a sense of security and belonging in my life. I was truly blessed to be surrounded by this simple lifestyle and by this supportive extended family. My parents set a Christian example both in and out of church. They loved us enough to make many sacrifices to provide us with everything we needed.” 

Phyllis’s parents encouraged and supported her religious activities as well as her pursuit of a good education. During high school, Phyllis was voted “most studious and most dependable” by her classmates. She was Valedictorian of her class which enabled her to get scholarship aide to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated with a double major in Psychology and Elementary Education. 

While attending school in Charlottesville, Phyllis met “the love of her life,” Jim Mitchell, and they married following her graduation from the university. Joining their family was a daughter, Mary Beth, and a son, Chris. There are two grandchildren to love. According to Phyllis, “Jim and I had 55 years together, and our lives were built around our love for Christ and our families.” Due to Jim’s employment, the family moved from Richmond, Virginia, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and finally, to Memphis, Tennessee. Jim had worked in banking, pharmaceutical management, nursing home management, and finally to the Farms at Bailey Station. 

Phyllis taught elementary education until her children were born; then, she became a stay-at-home mom. As the children became older, and “to test her brain cells,” Phyllis looked for opportunities such as substitute teaching which kept her current and allowed her to be at home when the children were there. For seven years, she was the Christian Education Coordinator at Central Church, a contributing writer and seminar leader for Gospel Light Publications, and a volunteer Bible study leader and adult Sunday school teacher. 

Jim Mitchell’s success while working for Rorer Pharmaceuticals awarded Phyllis and Jim the opportunity for several trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, Bermuda, and several cities in the United States. On their own, they traveled to Israel, Greece, and Ireland. “As a girl growing up, I never dreamed of being so blessed,” admits Phyllis. 

Mitchell's wedding day
The Mitchell’s Wedding Day

In a philosophical mood, Phyllis describes life as one ages: “I have decided that ‘LET IT GO’ should be the mantra or theme song for seniors. ‘Letting go’ prepares us for something much better. God gradually simplifies our lives, and as our health, strength and energy decreases, He introduces new options and situations to keep us productive. We learn to prioritize relationships over material things. I have found that ‘better’ here at Kirby Pines.” Phyllis says that being at Kirby Pines is almost like getting back to her roots, surrounded by a family and friends who can empathize with her “aches and pains.” On a more serious note, Phyllis expressed her appreciation for her safety and security here at Kirby Pines. “The security here is unmatched by most private homes,” states Phyllis. 

Finally, Phyllis says, “My children don’t have to worry about me. I have a new home, a new place to serve God and others, and good people all around me. I feel so blessed to have the freedom to worship and to be with believers from so many denominations and religions. My greatest desire now is to do my part in serving and making my new home a place of hospitality and love for years to come. I have ‘LET IT GO.’ ” 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Mike & Suzanne Hufnagel


In small town America, many people have been nurtured and supported in their formative years by the advantages which are unique to small town living. Both Suzanne and Michael Hufnagel are products of such an environment. Although their lives encountered hardships, cumulatively, their lives could be described as the “ultimate life.” There were supportive families, opportunities for education and advancement through employment, three children and six grandchildren to love, and a retirement to envy. In 2011, the Hufnagels sold everything, bought an RV, and spent the next eight+ years traveling the Unites States and Canada.

Suzanne (nee Stevens) and Michael Hufnagel were born in, or near, Tell City, Indiana. This small town had a rich heritage and was ideal for childhood. Life was good. No one locked their doors, bicycles were ridden from dawn to dusk, and sleep-over with friends was the norm. However, both Suzanne and Michael suffered losses during their childhood. Suzanne’s parents divorced when she was nine, and Michael’s father died when Michael was four years old. As a result, both lives were altered. Suzanne’s mother began working outside the home, and Michael’s family moved to his grandfather’s farm. However, according to Michael, “I loved living on the farm. There are many adventures I had in those early years that I wouldn’t trade for anything. That’s when I developed my love for the outdoors.”

Suzanne attended St. Paul’s Catholic school through eighth grade and was active in the band, playing cornet and French horn. Michael attended a different school. They met at the city swimming pool the summer following their freshman year of high school. They soon began dating “off and on.” Suzanne participated in musical and drama ventures while Michael developed the “Hoosier Hysteria” by involvement in sports. In his younger years, Michael also enjoyed scouting and eventually became a Boy Scout Leader.

Following graduation in 1962, Suzanne moved to Indianapolis to work in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and then as a receptionist in a prominent law firm. Michael entered Purdue University. The romance blossomed, and in 1964, Suzanne and Michael were married. One interesting bit of information shared by the Hufnagels was that both their mothers remarried around the same time.

The Vietnam War caused disruptions in many lives. Michael was drafted into the Army in 1966. He relates this about that experience: “I was in the Army from 1966 until 1968. I was trained as a Drill Instructor and discharged with the rank of Sergeant (E5). My Army years have many stories that had God’s hand in them. The main one is that I remained stateside while most of my trainees had to go ‘across the pond,’ and many didn’t return.”

After his discharge from the Army, Michael returned to Purdue earning a BS and an MS in Industrial Engineering. His employment resulted in family moves from Indianapolis to Cincinnati, Memphis, and Little Rock. Starting out in the engineering field, Michael moved to Marketing and then Information Technology. His last positions were as CIO of transportation companies.

Suzanne worked until their first child was born in 1970. She became a homemaker and the family increased to three, two boys and one girl. According to Suzanne, “Sewing and making things has been a big part of my life. I made my children’s clothes and my own for many years.” She began piecing the beautiful quilts we see displayed on our Art Wall in 2016. So far, she has made a total of 12 quilts. “I enjoy making things that are not only beautiful but useful,” says Suzanne. In 1975, Suzanne became a believer in Jesus Christ and has been involved in study and teaching Bible classes. She and Michael are members of Harvest Church and participate as Greeters.

Because of his love of the outdoors, Michael has always sought activities which allowed him to be “with nature.” He says that he has done a lot of backpacking and water skiing. When his children came along, they also enjoyed the outdoors. According to Michael, “We enjoyed tent camping, boating on a pontoon, and jet skiing on Pickwick Lake.” Michael says he has always enjoyed wood working and refinishing furniture.

When RV living came to an end, the Hufnagels did not want the hassle of another house and began looking at retirement facilities. After considering several, they chose Kirby Pines for a number of reasons. Primarily, Memphis seemed like home base, and their daughter lives here. Also, important to them was the Lifecare benefits and the community that Kirby offers.

The Hufnagels 

Living at Kirby is living the ultimate life. According to both Suzanne and Michael, “We enjoy living in our two bedroom apartment which requires little maintenance and no yard work. We SO enjoy the beautiful grounds here and are thankful for those who keep our grounds beautiful.”

Suzanne and Michael Hufnagel have certainly been a wonderful addition to our community. Both remain very active. Suzanne leads a Bible study and pleases us with her artistry. Michael has served on the Resident’s Association Board and has been an extraordinary helper to many of us who have various technology problems. 

The Hufnagels’ thoughts on moving: “So many residents experience the agony of downsizing when they move in. We had the experience of up-sizing in moving from a 400+ square foot motor home to a 900+ square foot apartment. We were able to buy all NEW furnishings. What fun!”

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Gary Winfield


Gary Winfield’s life has been focused primarily on caring for others. According to Gary, as a young boy, his life and that of two of his siblings “revolved around” their youngest brother, Keith, who was born with severe handicaps. When his parents became older, and in poor health, and his older brother Steve became ill, Gary helped care for them in their homes. His life happily changed when he married and accepted the additional responsibilities of becoming a step-dad to Danny, age 12, and Holley, age 10.

Gary Winfield was born in Memphis in 1956 to devout Catholic parents. He and his siblings, Steve and Cindy, were educated in Catholic schools. Because of Keith’s handicaps, Gary’s parents realized the need for an educational institution for handicapped children. His father was responsible for founding Madonna Day School, now Madonna Learning Center located in Germantown, Tennessee, and an engraved picture of his father hangs in the entrance to the building. His father served as Deputy Director of the Memphis Fire Department for several years, later becoming the Fire Chief of Shelby County, Tennessee.

After graduating from Catholic High School in 1975, Gary began employment with the Memphis Fire Department, remaining there until 1981. Because of his strong educational background and motivation, Gary began pursuing additional education. While working in “transitional” jobs, Gary first obtained an AAS in Business Accounting from State Technical Institute at Memphis. He then earned a BS in Business Administration from Christian Brothers University, and finally, an MS from the University of Arkansas in Operations Management. 

In 1990, Gary began work at the Memphis Veterans Hospital as a Fire and Safety Inspector. In 1991, he met his future wife, Florence Greissinger (Flo), who was working at the VA as the Acquisition and Materials Manager Supervisor. When asked what attracted him to Flo, Gary responded, “Well, first of all I learned that she was single and a Catholic, and she was such a sweet person and enjoyable to be with.” They were married on Memorial Day weekend in 1993.

With his marriage to Flo, Gary became step-dad to Danny and Holley Greissinger. This was certainly a new role for him! According to Gary, “My father gave me good advice before my new role was assumed. He said, ‘Son, remember that blood is thicker than water.’ He knew,” continues Gary, “That I was not one to ‘mince’ my words. I followed his advice when I was tempted many times to speak up in situations that involved the children. The children, however, were very good children, and I never once heard Flo raise her voice in anger or discouragement. She is a wonderful mother!”

Gary and Flo’s family lived in Germantown, Tennessee, where both Danny and Holley attended Farmington and Houston schools. Both were athletic and participated in recreational and competitive soccer. Danny attended State Tech and is now a journeyman electrician and lives in Germantown. Holley graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is a paralegal and mother to Hanna and Sara. They live in North Carolina, and according to Gary, “It is difficult to get all of us together now. However, just a few weeks ago, the four of us spent an entire week together and it was GREAT! Danny and Holley are doing well, and I give all the credit to Flo.”

In 1999, Gary left the VA to again work for the Memphis Fire Department, and after 60 years of combined government service, both Gary and Flo retired; Gary in 2008 and Flo in 2010. They moved to Pickwick in Hardin County, Tennessee, and enjoyed traveling on several cruises to the Caribbean, France, Spain, and Italy. “Our favorite place was Rome,” says Gary.

During the ten years living at Pickwick, Flo gradually developed Parkinson’s’ disease. Again, Gary found himself in a caregiver’s role. “After the 15 years of caring for both parents and my brother Steve, who passed away in 1978, I’m now into the ninth year of caring for Flo,” says Gary. Anticipating a future need, Gary and Flo moved to Kirby Pines in April 2020. 

The Winfield Family

“We moved to Kirby at the beginning of COVID which made it difficult to adjust,” admits Gary. “However,” he continues, “We were welcomed with open arms by Administration, and we have found everyone very friendly and helpful.” Flo eventually moved to the Manor and was recently transferred to Jordan River Health Facility at The Farms. Consequently, he finds little time to get involved with activities at Kirby. He does attend the Wednesday Catholic service held in the Chapel each week and Mass at Holy Spirit Church every Sunday.

Gary wanted to let everyone know that his brother Keith has done well because of the help he received attending Madonna Day School. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School and Christian Brothers University! He now lives in a retirement community after retiring from 32 years of employment by the Federal Government. Keith has made a YouTube video in which he discusses the history of Madonna Learning Center.

Giving some parting advice to all step-dads, Gary says, “To all of you who might be reading this, STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE!” That seems to be good advice for all of us.

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Anne Carter


Anne Carter (nee Greer) has had a life quite different from most women. In addition to being a nurse, a wife, and a mother, she spent thirty years as a medical missionary in Africa along with her physician husband, Dr. Louis Carter and children. Their experiences in preparing for and working in Africa are extensive. However, in honor of Mother’s Day, the story of how Anne became a mother follows:

“My husband and I moved to Dallas, Texas, following his completion of medical school at the University of Tennessee. After five years of remaining childless, we decided to apply for adoption.

“The application for adoption in Texas was thorough. There were lengthy forms to complete, eight references, and an office and a home visit required. In preparing for the home visit, I scrubbed the house as if I were preparing for surgery! Just before the case worker was expected, she phoned letting us know that ‘Dr. Carter is expected to be there, too.’ I said, ‘No, he is at work.’ She insisted it was necessary that he be there. Louis was at the hospital and had been there for the past 36 hours. Shortly after the case worker arrived, a very tired Louis also arrived. It didn’t take long for Louis to drop off to sleep. He even snored! I knew that our hopes for adoption were ended. Nevertheless, I prepared a nursery during the nine months to one-year waiting time, just in case. 

“One day, about a year after our interview, I received a phone call from the adoption agency. A voice said, ‘Mrs. Carter, you have a baby boy in Fort Worth. Can you and Dr. Carter pick him up today at 3 o’clock?’ ‘TODAY?’ I said. ‘Yes,’ she responded as if there were no options. Louis was at work, so I called Louis with the news. I was stunned by his response. ‘Do you think we should take this baby?’ a shocked Louis asked. I answered, ‘What do you mean? Of course, we should take him!’ Despite many hurdles and events that occurred that day, we were able to get to Fort Worth and bring home our nine-day-old son, David.

“We were told that the adoption agency preferred to wait two years before another adoption. However, because we were planning to leave for Africa in two years, we were told to apply in one year. When David was one year old, I called the adoption agency and was told that because of the law legalizing abortion, fewer babies were available. So Louis and I decided we were a family of three and were thankful for that.

“We had received permission to serve in Nigeria. Before we could leave, it was necessary to complete all the plans, and in addition, Louis was to take the surgery boards. One day in September, Louis had an errand in Fort Worth, and we decided to take David by the adoption agency. While there, we were asked if we would like to fill out papers for another child. I said, ‘I know you don’t have enough babies now.’ She was insistent, saying, ‘Oh, we don’t think one child makes a home.’ Well, I thought, it sure made ours! I took the papers, planning to ignore them. Later the agency called letting me know they were expecting those papers, so I completed them and rounded up the referrals that were required. We were so busy making plans for Africa, I forgot about the adoption papers, believing that there was no way we would get a baby before we left for Africa.

“On Friday, December 28th at 4 p.m., I received a phone call and a voice said, ‘Mrs. Carter, you have a baby girl.’ SHOCK! I had nothing prepared and asked to delay picking her up. She replied, ‘Well, be sure and pick her up by the 31st so you will get a tax deduction.’ With the help of friends and panic shopping, I was able to assemble the basic items needed. We happily picked up our 11-day-old daughter, Laney, and continued making our plans for Africa.”

The move to Africa was possible through the Carters’ appeal to many sources and the help of many people. The shock of arriving in Africa was lessened because of a prior visit. However, this trip, according to Anne, had the added “joy” of traveling with a baby and a small child. 

Yes, the Carters’ 30 years of serving in Africa were filled with stories and adventures worthy of a book. For example, shortly after their arrival, Laney became ill with malaria and almost died. Another time, while serving in an area with poor schools, the Carters had to send their children to a boarding school 400 miles away from home. A friend flew them once a month to visit the children, but it was very traumatic to all. Anne says, “Each time we left, we had to leave an almost hysterical daughter.” They eventually moved to a location where the children were able to attend a great school. Today, David and Laney are doing well and in frequent contact with Anne. 

The Carters visited Kirby Pines in early December 2021. Unfortunately, Louis died on Christmas Day. Anne moved to Kirby in July 2022. She is still making adjustments to her changed lifestyle but says that the friendliness of everyone makes her feel welcome.

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Joe & Shirley Brooks


Someone was recently heard saying, “Joe and Shirley Brooks are a beautiful couple.” They then quickly revised that by adding, “Actually, Joe is cute, but Shirley is the beautiful one!” To know Joe and Shirley is to acknowledge that together they are a beautiful couple. According to both Joe and Shirley, their marriage of 66 years has been one of love and commitment. “We enjoy teasing each other, and we never go to bed angry,” offers Joe. “And, we always kiss goodnight,” adds Shirley. It seems providential that they would find each other. 

Joe was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1932. He was 12 years old when his sister was born and 24 years old when his second brother was born! “I had just been discharged from the Navy and came home to a new brother!” exclaims Joe. 

As an only child for 12 years, Joe says it would be hard to imagine his childhood as being any better. “My mother was the ideal mother, and I spent most of my time with my grandfather. Papa was an engineer for Southern Railroad and had short, local routes. I was a frequent passenger as well as accompanying him wherever he went.”

For his elementary education, Joe attended the Campus School at Memphis State University, graduating from Messick High School in 1951, where he played football and ran track. He attended Memphis State for two years before being drafted into the Navy. Following his discharge from the Navy, Joe returned briefly to Memphis State but decided to work in his father’s business, Brooks Oil Company which was started in 1939. Joe would spend his entire work life in this business, taking over from his father when he retired. The business grew until they were providing oil to several truck lines and service stations, several of which, they also owned. Joe retired in 1991. 

Shirley Smith was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, in 1934. She, like Joe, was 12 years old before her first sibling, a sister was born. A brother would soon join the family. After the family moved to Memphis, she attended the Campus School at Memphis State for her elementary years, graduating from Treadwell High School in 1952. During her high school years, she played basketball. “I was always placed under the basket and was nicknamed ‘Long Arms,’” says Shirley. “However,” she continues, “Music was my life. I sang many solos at Bellevue Baptist Church and at weddings and funerals. I sang at my high school graduation. I enjoyed singing on a radio show on WMC called ‘Young America Sings.’ I recall vividly the emotional time I sang ‘O Holy Night’ on television one Christmas Eve.”

Following graduation from high school, Shirley could not afford to go to college; so she began working for Union Planters Bank and Sears Roebuck & Company. “My career ended when I met Joe. A blind date was arranged by one of Joe’s friends. We went to see ‘Holiday on Ice’ at Ellis Auditorium, and it was ‘love at first sight.’ We were engaged by our third date and married four months later on July 5, 1957, at Bellevue Baptist Church, Dr. Lee officiating.” According to Joe, “July 4, 1957, was my last independent day!”

After their marriage, Shirley became secretary to Joe at their oil company. She retired when she became pregnant with their first child, eventually becoming a mother to three: John, Ted, and Natalie. Their first home was on seven and one-half acres in Nesbitt, Mississippi. Shirley says she enjoyed mowing an acre on their John Deere mower. Joe “bush-hogged” the remaining land. There was a garden with many vegetables preserved for the winter months. “I really enjoyed this life,” says Shirley. But, with driving three children to school and all of their activities, they soon found it necessary to make a change. “We moved to Germantown and lived there for 43 years. Our house had a game room and a pool table, so our house was always filled with our children’s friends.” In 2008, Shirley served as chaplain of the local Republican Women’s Organization. 

Wedding Day 1957

The family enjoyed extensive travel, visiting all states, (except Alaska), and twelve European countries. The Hawaiian Islands were visited twice; however, the most fun and relaxing times came with their trips to Disneyland, Disneyworld, and Florida beaches. 

Joe and Shirley moved to Kirby Pines on September 15, 2021. “We wanted to give our children peace of mind in addition to not having yard work and having to cook. We love living at Kirby. There is no reason to be bored; there is something for everyone. The grounds are beautiful, and the residents and staff are so friendly and helpful.” As members of Germantown Church of Christ, they attend Sunday services as well as the Thursday morning Bible class. Joe spends much of his time on the computer, still managing some business details. Shirley sings with the Entertainers Chorus, helps mail out the Pinecone Magazine, and stays busy helping others when she becomes aware of a need. Their family now includes six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

Yes, their marriage is a strong and loving relationship. Joe gave Shirley the ultimate gift on her 40th birthday when he put an advertisement in the Commercial Appeal which read: “Will trade a 40-year-old wife for two in their 20s. Happy Birthday, Joe.”

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Mary Blanche Scott


Mary Blanche Scott’s account of her life with Dr. Edwin Scott enlightens us about the sacrifices and hardships that can occur when married to a physician. “Make no mistake,” admits Mary Blanche, “I wouldn’t change my life. It allowed me to have the opportunity to serve others.” Mary Blanche continues, “It was sometimes very lonely. I had to work to help support us and care for three children as Ed had long hours away from home while in school and while completing his internship and residencies. 

Mary Blanche and Dr. Ed Scott moved to Kirby Pines in October 2013. Dr. Ed had retired after 33 years of practice. Sadly, he passed away in 2019 from complications of diabetes. This is Mary Blanche’s story: 

Mary Blanche and Margaret Ann McMullen were born on January 31, 1929, in Sumner, Mississippi. They had an older brother and sister and their father was 60 years old when they were born! Their father was a landowner and was away managing “the place” most of the time. Mary Blanche describes her youth as a happy one. Life was centered on school, friends, and church activities at the local Baptist Church. “Birthdays were big events for us,” says Mary Blanche. “One of our friends invited us to come by train to Memphis and have lunch at the Peabody to celebrate her 12th birthday.” 

As identical twins, Mary Blanche and her sister got along well. According to Mary Blanche, “We did everything together including wearing identical clothing, playing basketball, and having the same friends. We were the first identical twins anyone could remember being born in Sumner, so we were quite an event! It was said that the men who sat on benches outside the stores took turns betting 50 cents that they could tell us apart.” 

Following high school, Mary Blanche enrolled in Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi and was active in the choir and on the tennis team. Her senior year, she transferred to Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She also had majors in History, Bible, and Spanish. “Zoology,” admits Mary Blanche, “was not my favorite subject. I dreaded returning to school on Monday morning to my dogfish shark that had been resting in a barrel of formaldehyde. 

The decision to accept a teaching position in Natchez, Mississippi, was to alter the rest of Mary Blanche’s life. It was here she met her future husband, Ed Scott, who had just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. They were married in August 1951 and returned to Atlanta for Ed to complete a master’s degree. Their first son, Stephen, was born the following year. 

With a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ed was employed by Exxon for the next six years in Linden, New Jersey, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But, two older brothers had become physicians, and the call to medicine became too strong for Ed. When he was accepted to medical school in 1957 at the University of Tennessee, the family moved to Memphis. Their second son, Jeff, was born on the first day of medical school. “It was hard to tell what Ed was most excited about!” exclaims Mary Blanche. 

So, with children five years old and five months old, Mary Blanche began a seven-year teaching position at the Longfield Junior High School while Ed completed medical school, internship, and residency programs. According to Mary Blanche, “Ed chose to specialize in Internal Medicine because he always wanted to know what caused the problem and how to solve it.” Also, as previously mentioned, time with the family was limited for Ed. “To have more time with him, the children and I would eat lunch with Ed every Sunday at the old John Gaston Hospital, Ed’s training facility.” 

Wedding Day 1951

Another son, Edwin Jr., was born in 1962. Dr. Ed’s practice as a primary care physician (with an additional residency in Cardiology) grew to become Graceland Medical in Whitehaven. Fortunately, it was built close to the area that would later become Methodist Hospital. Following the establishment of Ed’s medical practice, Mary Blanche retired from teaching and devoted many hours working with the Women’s Medical Auxiliary. Because of the heavy influx of Vietnamese, auxiliary women worked with them to help establish and maintain their homes. There was also work with new mothers at John Gaston Hospital in helping them learn proper care of their babies. When time allowed, Mary Blanche enjoyed playing tennis. “I have always loved playing tennis and playing with my friends,” says Mary Blanche. 

Despite the sometimes irregular life, travel was something the family enjoyed. Mary Blanche’s twin sister was a missionary in Nigeria, and Mary Blanche visited there three times. When a son moved to England, visits with him provided the opportunity to tour many surrounding countries. In addition to her three sons, Mary Blanche’s family grew to include eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Mary Blanche believes that the move to Kirby Pines was right for them. “I enjoyed being with Ed’s brother and sister-in-law who lived here. It is certainly a blessing to be living among Christian friends and with others who are like family to me.” She and other members of Germantown Presbyterian Church eat lunch together every Sunday. Mary Blanche enjoys reading, the Book Baggers Club, and always a good game of bridge!

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.

Resident Spotlight: Michael Gilbert


Rhino and Zadye is a children’s story written by Michael Gilbert, which teaches children about the rhinoceros and the conservation of the species. Michael has devoted his life to educating others and parenting his four children while enjoying the sports of soccer and golf. His current goals are to continue writing for children and adults, increase his skills in photography, and improve his game of golf. As with all people, Michael’s life was shaped by the experiences of his childhood.

Michael was born in Brooklyn, New York. His grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated to America from England and Austro-Hungary. However, according to Michael’s great-grandmother, many ancestors perished in the Holocaust. The community of Brooklyn was comprised of Jewish families from Eastern Europe and Italian Catholics. According to Michael, “It was a nice blend of different cultures and religions.”

Unfortunately, Michael’s mother died when he was five years old. His father remarried, and a more stable life resumed for a while. At the age of thirteen, Michael was enrolled in a private boarding school near Princeton, New Jersey. Michael says the experiences at the Peddie School laid a solid foundation for his future life. Soccer became a favorite sport.
Following graduation from Peddie School, Michael enrolled in Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English composition in 1966. Michael moved to the South to enroll in a Master of Arts in teaching at Emory University, from which he graduated in 1967. The internship part of the program opened doors for a career in education.

Michael began his teaching career in the inner city of Atlanta. During this time, Michael participated in an administrative career program at the University of Georgia and was recruited into their Doctor of Education degree program, from which he graduated in 1973. Moving from Atlanta to Athens, Georgia, Michael served as an elementary school principal before moving to Savannah, Georgia as a central-office administrator in the schools. Following that work, he was hired into a Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Education doctoral program as a faculty member at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He also served as director of the Bureau of Educational Research and Field Services during his ten years at UCP. This was followed by thirteen years at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, and finally, fifteen years at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Michael retired as Professor Emeritus in 2013 and moved to North Carolina where he continued his consultant work.

Obviously, education has played an important role in Michael’s life. He has authored three books and multiple articles, and given many consultancies nationally and internationally. He has served as teacher and director of religious education in three congregations at various times while also holding other full-time positions in education. Becoming certified in communication and listening models resulted in a special emphasis in Michael’s work and research through the years. His focus was to improve preparation programs for educational leaders by including additional curricula on interpersonal relationships. According to Michael, this has not occurred to any degree as “Old ways are difficult to change.”

Michael has an extensive travel history. He says that many of his opportunities for travel were the result of his work. “It was a lot easier when someone else was paying the expenses!” admits Michael. His favorite countries are Portugal, Scotland, and Japan. The most fun was golfing and whisky tasting in Scotland. The most moving was the visit to the Wallenberg Memorial Garden at the Dohany Synagogue in Budapest. The memorial, according to Michael, resembles a willow tree with each leaf bearing the name of one of the thousands of Hungarian Jews who were killed by the Nazis. 

2005 Division 1 Soccer Match

Michael has loved soccer for most of his life. In addition to playing as a youngster, he refereed soccer for forty years. According to Michael, many soccer teams are coached or refereed by someone who has never played. Since 1990, Michael has given much time in assisting referees to improve their officiating skills. 

While living in North Carolina, Michael served as an advocate in the courts for children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Michael says, “It was heart-rending to see the problems that resulted in the children being removed from the home. Often adoption seemed to be the best option. 

Michael is a father to four children, one son and three daughters, and grandfather to seven. His son lives in Memphis and his grandson Max will soon graduate from Lausanne Collegiate School. Max has been heavily recruited for his skill as a place-kicker. Look for him to be a starter on the University of Tennessee football team this Fall! Michael says, “I feel my greatest reward in life has been to see my children become independent contributing adults. I am so proud of all of them.”

Michael made the decision to move to Kirby Pines in 2022 because he wanted to be near his family and to relieve them from having to make decisions concerning his future care. Since moving to Kirby, Michael enjoys playing golf three days a week and playing poker with a group of Kirby Pines residents. He belongs to the Photography Club and enjoys using his iPhone along with a regular camera. 

Michael chose one of the beautiful Garden Homes as his residence. Free of house maintenance and yard work, Michael is able to enjoy the amenities of Kirby Pines.

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.