Meet The "Ambassador" of The Maples Retirement Home Jean Houghton.
At 98 years young, Jean has a joie de vivre that is infectious. Perhaps this is why she is fondly thought of as the ambassador of the retirement home. She always has a kind word to say about the people who live and work in the home where she has lived for the past seven years following the death of her husband.
"When I reached age 90, my family and I decided I needed more rest so I came to The Maples," she says with a smile.
Jean was born in the countryside near St. Mary's, Ontario and was raised on a farm.
"I milked the cows and looked after horses," she recalls.
After graduating school, she found herself in London, Ontario where she worked in a bank. She lived in a house with other borders and it was there that she met her future husband, Russel.
"He was the nephew of the owners and so he would often come for Sunday dinner. He was in the Royal Canadian Air Force and I thought he looked so handsome in his uniform."
After they were married, the couple moved to Alberta where they lived in Lethbridge, Calgary and then Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. They eventually moved back to Ontario in Tavistock where they raised six children: four sons and two daughters. Having left the air force, Russel opened up a body shop that the couple ran for 23 years from 1947 to 1970.
"Russel loved that business and got to drive all sorts of cars."
One of their sons now runs the business that has transformed into a successful rust proofing company.
The couple retired in 1980 and enjoyed spending winters in Florida.
Today, Jean is happy to welcome people to her "home" at The Maples.
"They have such great staff here. What more could you want?"