Ever since his wife of 60 years passed away in 2019, Ray Taylor says the continuing friendship of Harvest Hill residents has been invaluable for him.
Around two-and-a-half years ago, Ray’s daughter, who lives in Hanover, suggested her parents move closer to family, so they bought a home in West Lebanon. When Ray broke his hip just before their scheduled move from Texas, their daughter suggested Harvest Hill instead. They visited the community and loved it, living there for a year before Ray’s wife passed away from cancer.
“My daughter told us one of the benefits in living in a place like Harvest Hill was that it was like an extended family, and I found that out in spades after my wife died,” said Ray. “The other residents expressed their concern and really treated me like extended family. That was one of the biggest impressions I had when we first moved in, and that impression has continued since she passed away.”
Before coming to Harvest Hill, Ray worked for 36 years for GTE, formerly General Telephone & Electronics Corporation, in the information technology department. He met his wife while living in southern California and managing a symphonic band. They had two children: their daughter, who is a tenured Tufts University professor, and a son, an American Airlines pilot based in Falls Church, Virginia.
When GTE moved Ray and his family to Tampa Bay, Ray, who has his commercial pilot’s license, joined the Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. There, he became the director of aerospace education for the group’s Florida wing and authored a document for CAP cadet squadrons that earned him a national award. Today, it hangs on the wall of his apartment at Harvest Hill.
Most recently, during the pandemic, Ray said he has appreciated how hard the management at Harvest Hill has worked to protect the residents and keep them engaged. Currently, he is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this month.
“What I’ve told other people who live here is if I had to endure a pandemic, I can’t think of a better place than Harvest Hill to do it,” said Ray. “The carefulness with which the staff here have kept us virus-free is just amazing. We also have a very active activities director, who has been going out of her way to keep us amused” with socially distanced group activities, outdoor games and exercise.
According to Ray, another indication Harvest Hill watches out for its residents is evidenced by the kind of people who work there.
“The maintenance workers, the staff who make up our rooms, everyone, they are just wonderful people,” he said. “It seems like the management here really goes out of its way to get a good crowd of folks who are very friendly and anxious to help us in any way they can.”