Seasons Amherstburg

Cherished Amherstburg resident passes away at 97

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Margaret Squire had many accomplishments during her life, from teacher to author and more, and her loss is being felt by the Amherstburg community.

Well-known as an English teacher at General Amherst High School, where she taught for 21 years, Squire had a passion for Shakespeare and the art of literature. She touched many lives, much of it due to her passion for life.

Squire was an immigrant from Austria-Hungary, which her children John Philip Squire and Wilma Peters explained became Romania the day after she was born due to the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War One. When she immigrated to Canada at 9-years-old, she could speak German, Hungarian and Romanian and her first area of business was to learn English. Peters said she continued to speak German and English fluently all her life.

Margaret Squire passed away Dec. 20 at the age of 97. Squire led an accomplished life and spent the last few years of her life as a resident of Seasons Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

“She loved the English language and as a teacher, she tried to infuse that into her students,” said Peters. “Shakespeare was her passion and she made it come alive in her classes.  She also genuinely cared for each and every one of her students, and if they needed anything, whether it be about school or personally, she was there for them.  It was fun for us as her children to also have her as a teacher.”

John described her as “a life-long student” and “a loving mother of three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.” She was also a world traveler, having visited more than 85 countries and lost count. She published her stories about travel in two hard-cover books, “Globe Trotting Granny,” and “Globe Trotting Great-Granny.”

“(She was) a kind and caring role model for all of us on how to live a fulfilling life for almost 98 years,” said John. “As her only son, I carry her with me every day of my life. Her focus on English and the English language, her fourth language, spurred me into a major in university English, a brief stint as an English teacher and a 40-year career as a newspaper journalist, now based in Kelowna, British Columbia.”

In what John called her “long and productive retirement,” Squire would travel the world, joking she was “spending their inheritance” by doing so. Her children would tell her to spend it all, and leave them with great memories when she passed. After Squire’s husband passed, she began taking her children with her on her trips. Peters explained she had a map of the world and would mark every country she visited. According to Peters her only regret would be not visiting the Antarctic, which was the only continent she didn’t get to see.

“Her other retirement pleasure was auditing courses at the University of Windsor,” said Peters. “ She would take two courses every fall session and two courses in the spring.  These would range from history to geology to psychology to women’s studies and so on.  She also enjoyed attending University Players’ and Windsor Light Opera productions.  Of course, there was many a trip to Stratford to see its plays.”

Margaret Squire decorated her door at Seasons Retirement Home, as seen in this 2014 photo.

Eventually, Peters said Squire moved into Seasons Amherstburg were she got involved in the numerous activities, participated in the outings and even was involved with the residents’ council. Squire was well-known throughout Seasons for decorating her apartment door in accordance with the season, as well as being able to pick up four-leaf clovers nearly every time she walked outside. She was chosen as the recipient for Seasons’ Remarkable Resident for a life well-spent in 2013.

“When I returned to southern Ontario every other Christmas, I immersed myself in her busy social life at Seasons Amherstburg, from meeting all her friends to competing in horse racing, bingo, trivia contests and card games,” said John. “Even though I became a wordsmith like her, she could always beat me in a friendly game of Scrabble. And everyone I met, from dozens of former students to her new friends, they always sang her praises. It’s no wonder that she was awarded the University of Windsor’s Clark Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2004. No wonder she was named Seasons’ Remarkable Resident in 2013. No wonder she could find so many four-leaf clovers every time she went for a walk. She led the luckiest life of anyone I’ve ever met. Two lifetimes in fact, judging by my experience and now, through her obituary.”

Margaret Squire has her photo taken with Santa Claus (Submitted photo)

Squire will remain a role model for everyone whose lives she touched to live life the fullest every day. As her obituary reads, “no tears, celebrate!” as her final request, she asks everyone “to rejoice with her on her last trip.”

Seasons donates 100 turkeys to Mission in time for Christmas

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

At each of their properties across Canada, Seasons donated 100 turkeys to food banks and missions in their respective communities.

“This is a great day for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission,” said Tim McAllister, president. “We are so very blessed that Seasons has chosen to donate 100 turkeys to us this holiday season. Their generous support has allowed us to continue serving our community and those in need. You have blessed us, and now we can share that blessing with others.”

Initially there was discussion about all the area Seasons donating their turkeys to the Windsor Essex County Food bank, but dining services manager at Seasons Amherstburg Beau Veldhuis explained each of the area Seasons wanted the opportunity to keep their donation in their respective communities.

“We try to help out whenever we can, if we’ve got things that we can bring over and help out, that’s what we try to do,” said Veldhuis. “There are plenty of needy families right here in Amherstburg, so we are all going to our individual missions and food banks to donate our turkeys.”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister (left) and vice president Shirley Hitchcock (right) accepted a truck load of 100 turkeys from Beau Veldhuis (centre) on behalf Seasons, which launched a company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Shirley Hitchcock, vice president at the Mission said some of the turkeys will be cooked for the annual Christmas dinner, while others will be given to those who go to the Mission to receive assistance regularly. Those people, she said, know who they are.

“Everybody here knows. People that don’t need it in this area don’t ask for it and people that do need help that’s why we’re here so if they come and they need a turkey they’re having a turkey,” said Hitchcock. “When people have a number of children it’s easier for them to cook the turkeys at home and just get the trimmings to go with it.”

Seasons dropped off 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission last Thursday afternoon as part of their company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Veldhuis, explained they worked with their grocery partner, Sysco Canada to work out a deal with them to be able to provide 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. All of the turkeys across all of the Seasons properties were donated to the area food banks and missions Dec. 14.

“It’s great to be able to help,” said Veldhuis. “I know it’s not me personally but it’s Seasons as a company that’s helping and it’s a great initiative so I hope we continue to do it because we sure can do it. I think we lose track of how many people are out there that need the help.”

Catz Meow brings dance classes to Seasons Amherstburg

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“Making big dreams come true in a small town.”

The work of art on one of The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre’s buildings showcases everything owner and director Catherine Cristofaro stands for. A business, which she explained was built so innocently, and has continued because of it’s genuineness is showing its heart again by teaching ballet at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg.

“Our cooperate initiative was to bring dance into our memory care communities and so we went out into the community, thinking that might be a good way to assist us, since we’re not all gifted in house,” explained Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg’s general manager Tamasin Dineen. “ We reached out to the Catz Meow and asked if there was anyone interested, maybe some students who were interested in volunteer hours, and we got a great response from them and Catherine decided to do it herself.”

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Many of the patients in the memory care community have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Not only was it thought to be a great form of exercise, but it’s also a safe form of art of the residents to participate in.
For five weeks Cristofaro has been working with the residents. She said in the beginning, there were a lot of spectators, but now they all get up and follow along with her much better than their first class together.

“Whether or not they remember the names of the exercises, you can tell that their muscle memory is definitely engaged, the music is sparking a part of their brain and their heart and their love of dance I think many of them have,” said Cristofaro. “That’s really encouraging to keep coming back and they look forward to seeing me.

Whether they remember my name or not is not important, but when they see my face they know that we’re here to dance and it means a lot to me to be a part of it.”

Cristofaro has spoken with Dineen to expand upon the program. She said she is going to be receiving additional training in order to know how to approach the residents in specific manors according to some of the challenges they face individually. This way, she can be more efficient and effective in what she is sharing with them in order to maximize on the success of the program she is trying to develop for them.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

“The residents just gravitated towards it,” said Dineen. “They absolutely love it. She has also approached me about taking it one step further, not just for the five-week class, but doing something long-term and we would be so excited about that because I think both our residents in independent living and memory care, it gives them a sense of purpose, it gives them something new to try and it encourages them to work on their cognitive skills as well and learning something new is always wonderful too.”

Dineen said ballet is something that was outside of the box for them to offer, and while many people may not think ballet is something the seniors would be interested in, they most certainly are and she is incredibly grateful for the work Cristofaro has put into the five-week program and is interested in seeing it expand.

“I feel just as blessed to be here, and grateful, to be teaching these people as I think they feel towards me,” said Cristofaro. “I’m really excited to see where this opportunity takes me.”

Seasons chips in with donation to Belle Vue

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Seasons Amherstburg has done its part to try and restore the 200-year-old Belle Vue property.

The local retirement home presented the Belle Vue Conservancy a cheque for $811 last Friday afternoon. Linda Jackson, chair of the conservancy’s corporate outreach, said it is a national historic site that is two centuries old and that Seasons has helped out in the past.

Jackson pointed out that Robert and Debra Honor, also conservancy members, have presented information sessions at Seasons regarding the Belle Vue property. She added Seasons is a silver sponsor for the Sept. 24 “Puttin’ on the Ritz” gala being held for Belle Vue at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

“We can’t thank you enough for all of your help,” Jackson told Seasons staff.

Rick Daly, manager of programming and development with the town of Amherstburg, represented the Amherstburg Community Foundation and thanked Seasons staff and residents for their generosity as well.

Heather Vandenham, leasing manager at Seasons Amherstburg, said the money was raised at the retirement community’s Canada Day festivities.

“There were raffles and donations made through that event,” said Vandenham.

Many Seasons residents remember Belle Vue from some of its former uses and they would like to see it used again.

“They grew up here,” she said. “They love this community as much as we do.”

Seasons also tries to keep history alive through its residents, Vandenham added, and that residents want to keep history alive in Amherstburg.

To make a donation, people can visit www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

Spits goalie does meet and greet with Memorial Cup at Seasons

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents at Seasons Amherstburg got a chance to meet a local hockey player who has done well for himself in recent months as well as the prestigious trophy his team won.

Amherstburg native and Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to the retirement community last Wednesday night where residents and staff spent one hour asking him questions, getting his autograph and taking pictures with him.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Telling the residents that “I grew up five minutes from here,” the 18-year-old DiPietro noted he has been busy this summer with part of his agenda being to do appearances like the one at Seasons. He is also busy getting ready for the 2017-18 hockey season, as he works out five times per week and is skating four times per week.

The Memorial Cup champion’s summer also includes a trip to Plymouth, Michigan as part of his bid to make the Canadian World Junior hockey team. The 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase runs July 28-Aug. 5 with 12 international competitions between Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

“Hopefully, I’ll be in Buffalo on Boxing Day,” he said, as that is the day the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships start.

DiPietro was drafted in the third round of the NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks last month and heads for the west coast in September for a “Young Stars” tournament and training camp.

“It’s definitely a quick summer for me,” he said.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Responding to a question from a member of the audience, DiPietro said he has a good relationship with new Spitfires head coach Trevor Letowski.

“We have a happy medium,” said DiPietro.

One of the residents getting a signed poster was former mayor Bill Gibb, who now resides at Seasons.

“Just having (DiPietro) in Amherstburg is a big event,” said Gibb. “I’ve been a hockey fan all of my life. When you meet one of the greats, it’s a pleasure.”

Gibb said hockey players work hard as it’s not an easy sport to play.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro's visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro’s visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

“Having him show up here was a nice thing,” said Gibb.

Jean Farr was also happy to meet DiPietro, recalling the days when she lived in London with husband Bernard and they would travel to Toronto to see games.

“My husband and I loved hockey,” she said. “We would go anywhere to see hockey. That was my husband’s sport.”

Members of DiPietro’s family were also there for the occasion.

“I’ve known this kid from day one,” said June Ackley, DiPietro’s aunt. “I’ve got a picture of him when he’s about three years old.”

Betty DeLuca, DiPietro’s grandmother, sat in the front row in Seasons’ theatre room in her Spitfires’ sweatshirt watching her grandson sign autographs.

“It’s hard to believe he’s done so well,” she said, adding she was very proud of her grandson.