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Saunders: Youthful enthusiasm: History of Carroll Lutheran Village, part III

The year was 1988 — and Carroll Lutheran Village had not opened a new facility in almost five years. Rev. Lyle Peters had resigned as executive director/chaplain effective July 30, 1985, to return to Iowa, and by Nov. 17, 1985, the Board of Directors hired Charles Brown from Pennsylvania as executive director.

On January 7, 1987, groundbreaking was held for another apartment building. (Also in 1987 another 14+ acres of land bordering Bell Road were acquired from Dr. Griswold and financed by Walt Weller.) By June 24, 1988, the first people were moving into the newly built five-story apartment building known as Phase I, 205 St. Mark Way and Village Center complex that would house the administrative offices, a bank, a store/pharmacy, doctor’s office, beauty/barber salon, as well as a large dining room and kitchen designed to feed all apartment residents. This Phase I complex was dedicated on Oct. 15, 1988, and added 81 apartments.

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These new first residents came from as far away as Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and as close as Reisterstown. They came to escape mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and cleaning the gutters. They came to “get involved” in their new life, like the Cloppers — Richard to carry the scattered books to the fourth-floor room where Elizabeth would open a library. And of course the Scotts came to this new apartment building in 1991.

One of the earliest and most tireless salesmen for the Village, Dr. Harry Krug, along with his wife Helen, moved into their fifth floor apartment on July 1, 1988. Another of the Founding Fathers, Harris Frock and his wife Mabel lived in one of first cottages on campus, both men demonstrating their faith in this venture called Carroll Lutheran Village. Today, another of those Founders, Eileen Gist, lives in the 205 apartment complex, only she is in Phase II.

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Phase II of 205 opened on Sept. 5, 1990, with 60 additional apartments, a little over a year from its groundbreaking on July 31, 1989; it was dedicated on May 19, 1991. Doris Harry and her husband Charles were the first move-ins, with Doris getting involved in crafts, in committees, volunteering in the marketplace, and exercising. Doris not only organized groups to walk the exercise trail, but she and Mary Herbert often walked to Baugher’s for breakfast and back on Saturday mornings!

Carroll Lutheran Village
Carroll Lutheran Village (Dylan Slagle)

Such youthful enthusiasm has been the hallmark of many of the Village residents from the beginning. Crafts, art projects, computer club, workshop, library, exercise programs, all starting in the early years have expanded in later years to a gym and a pool as well as a myriad of other interests.

Moving to their apartment in 205, Phase II, in February 1991, Randy and Charlotte Sherman never thought they could survive without their small farm of Black Angus cattle and their beautiful pond. But because of all the wonderful residents they met at the Village, the attentive staff, and the beautiful location, they never regretted their move. Still other residents get immense satisfaction from the semi-rural setting around the Village and seeing the deer meandering through, the squirrels and bunnies, the occasional fox, and the myriad of birds.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, Chaplain Jimmie Schwartz led his last worship service at Carroll Lutheran Village, where he served as full-time chaplain for 27 years.
On Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, Chaplain Jimmie Schwartz led his last worship service at Carroll Lutheran Village, where he served as full-time chaplain for 27 years. (Carroll Lutheran Village / HANDOUT)

Having had only a part-time chaplain after Rev. Peters left, the Village issued a call to the Rev. Jimmie Schwartz of Ellicott City in September 1992; he was installed on February 21, 1993. After a crippling accident in 2018, he was forced to retire in 2019 having served the Village for 26 years. Carroll Lutheran Village’s foundation in faith has remained paramount in its development.

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Soon after Brown’s resignation, effective Sept. 1, 1993, Geary Milliken assumed his duties as executive director on March 1, 1994, a position he retained for 25 years until his retirement in 2019. The vision for the Village could not be complete until the full continuum of care provided an assisted living facility for those whose needs fall between living independently and needing nursing home care. Even though such a facility had been dreamed about, talked about, and planned for as far back as 1980, assisted living had to wait for the need to be paramount and an influx of initial capital.

Carroll Lutheran Village Team | Westminster, Maryland | Photos by Kelly Heck Photography User Upload Caption: Geary Milliken, Carroll Lutheran Village - Original Credit: Courtesy Photo
Carroll Lutheran Village Team | Westminster, Maryland | Photos by Kelly Heck Photography User Upload Caption: Geary Milliken, Carroll Lutheran Village - Original Credit: Courtesy Photo (Kelly Heck Photography / HANDOUT)

Some of that initial money came from Harry Krug ($100,000) and Frances Miller ($93,000) and from the Estate of John and Evlyn Diven ($1.9+M). The Divens had moved to 201 St. Mark Way in September 1983, because of Dr. Krug’s salesmanship. After John died Evlyn began talking to her neighbor, Harry Burkhardt, about what she should do with the balance of her estate after leaving endowments to Carroll Hospital, the Historical Society of Westminster, the Westminster United Methodist Church, and the Shriner’s. Harry suggested leaving it to the Village for the building of assisted living; she liked the idea and the rest is history.

Diven House with 50 assisted living suites, corporate offices, an extension for the Alzheimer’s wing of the Health Care Center, and a large chapel/auditorium were built after groundbreaking in September 1997. Also introduced was a renewed emphasis on mission in the slogan, “Where Caring Becomes a Ministry.” If assisted living was named for the Divens, the chapel would be named in honor of Harry and Helen Krug and be consecrated and dedicated on December 18, 1998. Chaplain Jimmie Schwartz was able to enlist the work of artists who provided the Krug Chapel with a number of beautiful and meaningful stained glass windows and other tasteful décor.

The main office of the campus became known as 300 St. Luke Circle and remains so until today, even though there had been other main offices over the years. Assisted living suites are located on the second floor of that complex whose cornerstone date is November 5, 1998 and whose dedication was on April 18, 1999. Still other building continued after the completion of these facilities.

Groundbreaking for what was initially called the Wakefield area of the campus took place in 2003 and would add 52 larger homes, another two-wing apartment complex with 92 apartments, another kitchen, Bistro and dining areas, marketing offices, a wellness center and pool, a doctor’s suite and rehab center, a tennis court, all of which were completed for occupancy beginning in 2005.

Carroll Lutheran Village is now part of Lutheran Social Ministries of Maryland, along with its sister community built by the Village in Ellicott City, The Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant. Since July 2019, the President & CEO of LSMMD is Jeff Branch who is beginning updates to 201, 205 and the Health Care Center at Carroll Lutheran Village.

The Carroll County Health Department announced nine new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Wednesday evening, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 103. Four of the new cases are tied to Carroll Lutheran Village, a retirement community in Westminster.
The Carroll County Health Department announced nine new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Wednesday evening, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 103. Four of the new cases are tied to Carroll Lutheran Village, a retirement community in Westminster. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

With all of the building that has occurred over 40 years to practically fill the 100-plus acre campus, the words of Rev. Bollinger, spoken at the 1980 groundbreaking are still relevant. He spoke on the theme “Broken for a Purpose,” in which he eloquently established the mission of Carroll Lutheran Village. He proclaimed that the ground was broken to reaffirm our motives for serving, to establish a caring community, and to develop a lifestyle of loving.

In the minds of the founders and those that came after them, the residents remain the lifeblood of Carroll Lutheran Village and give the Village its character and its raison d’etre.

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Hermine Saunders writes from Westminster. Her Prime column appears on the second Sunday of the month.

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