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It’s A Small World After All…

Bill

One might say there is no better feeling in life than to truly feel loved! There is nothing better than to feel part of something bigger… Safe. Secure. Family.

How appreciative are you….Of your parents? Of your upbringing? Of your childhood memories? Of the discipline your parents instilled in you? We live by our core values. We prosper and unite with others who share the same values to build a culture. Build a dream!

One resident, Eloise Branche, harnessed the discipline passed onto her by her grandfather, who matriculated through college in the late 1930’s, and her father, who insisted on the best schooling for his daughter. Having lived in four homes before the age of 5, attending boarding schools in Philadelphia and Milwaukee before moving back to Washington D.C. for high school and attending American University on a scholarship, Eloise lived life by her family core values.

“It’s too hot,” declared Eloise about staying in the D.C. area after college. However, living in the D.C. area became a fait accompli when she married a Washingtonian, moved to Bowie, Maryland for over 40 years and shared 51 years of marriage with her soul mate, Bill Branche.

Do you remember the feeling you get from a warm comforter on a winter night? A lazy summer afternoon sipping iced-tea on a hammock fading off with a novel. It feels like home. For Eloise, moving into Collington was like a child growing up and coming home to live. Eloise and Bill knew about Collington before architectural designs and construction started.

Allow me to take you back…

After joining an Episcopalian church, later known as one of the seven integral churches to start Collington, the motivated couple continued their ministry. Bill became a Youth Pastor as well as part of the Vestry at St Barnabas. That Vestry was a part of the 7 Episcopal Parish’s involved in setting up Collington original vision and facility. “Not a lot of people know that St Barnabas Church was a part of the genesis of Collington”, Eloise proudly states. In addition, fellow resident, Marion Henry, committed extensive volunteer work with the Archdiocese of Washington and the Episcopal Home for the Aging. This process, in retrospect, served as a crucial part in the genesis of Collington. Besides the Harris’, Eloise knows two other families at Collington that are members at St Barnabas.

Collington, a Kendal affiliate, is a Quaker community, but its origin was from the Washington Episcopal Archdiocese. Hence it has been a theological hybrid since the beginning.

It was current Collington resident, Larry Harris, who recommended Eloise and Bill’s move to Collington in 2011. Larry and Eloise started the “Collington Visitors” – Independent Living residents that visit the Creighton Center, letting those residents know they have not been forgotten and offer assistance in any way.
Eloise is no stranger to community living. She was accustomed to it throughout her life, including nursing school and as a Public Health Nurse and Occupational Health Nurse. “The campus is gorgeous, people are fascinating, very sociable, warm, inviting. You can get to know a lot of people in a very short period of time.”

Now 81 years young, Eloise is involved with the Collington Singers and Drama Committee, as well as an autobiographical memoir writing class off-campus. “There is great comradery writing tales of your life.” “It’s like eating peanuts,” says Eloise, referring to her memoirs and tales of our daily lives. She writes for pleasure and for her grandkids to know about her life…
Although Bill passed in 2012, his legacy endures with numerous accomplishments at The Walter Reed Medical Center, countless contributions to the NIH (National Institute of Health) and was an active member of the American Society for Microbiology and in his local community.

“I doubt there’s another CCRC where residents are involved in every part of life,” says Eloise. “It’s extremely important to us,” as Collington has three residents on the Board of Directors serving as the voice of the residents.

The proximity to Eloise’s children means everything. “That first winter we were here, there was a snowstorm. Knowing my daughter and son live in area, only 15 and 45 minutes away”, made me feel at home”. Both kids said “What a gift you have given us”. We don’t have to worry about you in the middle of the night.” “Thank you for moving to Collington”. Per Eloise’s son’s recommendation, his in-laws are moving to Collington at the end of March! What a small world after all.

Eloise enjoys thinking about “the wonderful history” of Collington. Her husband was a part of the vestry responsible for the genesis of her home. “That’s part of me. I’m so happy to be here.”