On Monday, March 2, 2015 we said goodbye to Irene Leaman who was the last surviving member of six Leaman siblings who called Landis Homes their home, and who are significant contributors to who we are today as a community.
The six siblings were our first administrator George Leaman (1906-2008 – died at 101 years old), Anna (1904-1997 – 93 years), Ada (1912-2014 – 102 years), Samuel (also known as Pete – 1914-2004 – 89 years), Myrtle (1916-2010 – 94 years) and Irene (1920-2015 – 94 years).
On February 18, 1964 George Leaman and his wife Grace, the first staff hired at Landis Homes, welcomed the first residents, Henry and Mary Weber to what is now Aspen. George served as Administrator until 1977 when Ed Longenecker assumed this role, and a few months after retiring, George and Grace moved to Landis Homes until Grace passed away in 1988, and George died at 101 on Ascension Day in 2008.
Anna moved to Landis Homes in Oct 1992 and passed away in 1997, Pete moved in 1994, Ada in 1998, and Myrtle and Irene moved in 1999, so for about five years from 1999 to 2004, five of the siblings all resided together at Landis Homes.
The Leaman Woods on campus are named for George and Grace Leaman and their commitment to serving, including supporting the planting of many trees on campus that we enjoy today. The Leaman family each contributed in their unique way to community life at Landis Homes. Jessica DiPaolo, a nursing staff member of the household team in Manheim House Healthcare, shared the following…
“One evening that I was working a lot of residents were anxious and confused. I had gathered everyone in a circle to attempt to keep everyone occupied while passing medications. We played music and reminisced. Irene was sitting in the group as well and was talking with staff and the residents. She grabbed the Bible and turned to a certain section and stated that she was going to read if everyone was okay with that. One resident stated yes and then Irene said “then I will begin”. I wish I could have been able to take a picture of what I was seeing at the time that Irene started to read. Every resident that was confused and anxious became quiet and was engaged with what Irene was reading. Nobody was attempting to get up or calling out. Nobody was anxious. All those behaviors were gone and everyone’s eyes were focused on Irene reading. When Irene would get to a certain part she would talk to the other residents and tried to start a discussion. Some of the residents would respond to what she was saying and then she would continue to read. It was so neat! A resident’s family member came in and was in awe. The gentleman pulled up a chair and sat right beside Irene and was listening to her read and engaged with the conversation. This went on for about an hour. I just thought it was so neat! There are many stories that could be shared; however, this one was different than the others. We will miss Irene, here in Manheim House! But I will cherish the memories that we have of her.”
We are grateful to all who have gone on before, whether former staff or residents. I also am thankful for many residents who volunteer, and for staff team members today who carry on the tradition of serving one another in a community of Christ-like love.