February 2021 Newsletter

The latest in our series…

The People of the Park:

Eva Newell

By Dale Dauten

Say you’re trying to decide whether to live near your family in South Texas or near your husband’s family in Southern California. Which one do you choose? How about Phoenix as a kind of midway place? That’s how Eva “Evie” Newell and her husband came to choose Arizona.

Evie was born and raised in Alice, Texas, not far from Corpus Christi. She met her husband there, at age 20, and married the next year. But he was soon off to the Navy and to Viet Nam, and that’s when Evie ended up in Phoenix. Before she left, she got what she thinks of as the best advice of her life: Her family urged her to say goodbye to a family friend in Texas, an older man she thought of as one of her godparents, who told her, “Do whatever you have to do – you may have to live on bread and water – but you need to go to college and learn all you can learn.” She did – she went to Del Mar College in Corpus Christi and later to Phoenix College and also completed a program with the State of Arizona that included ASU and the University of Phoenix.

(Alice, Texas)

Evie had worked in a doctor’s office in Texas, and found a job in Phoenix at the Arizona State Hospital, also known as the state’s psychiatric hospital (see note below). She ended up spending 26 years there, much of her time there as a medical technologist working in clinical labs, and eventually she managed the hospital’s laboratory. One of her chief responsibilities was to keep the lab certified with all the state and federal agencies involved and she stated proudly, “We never failed an inspection.”

Evie’s tenure at the hospital stretched back to a time when the facility would have around 800 patients; these days, the census is 300-400. She explained how a surprising snowbird reality led to that drop: “There was a time when people would come to Arizona from the north to spend the winter and they would bring patients with them and check them into the hospital in the fall and then check them out in the spring.” That changed as a part of the human rights movement. “The law changed, and in order to be admitted the patients had to be a danger to themselves or the community.” That meant that relatives could no longer easily check patients in and out. And, as Evie put it, “The goal was to treat patients as normal as anyone else.”

When it came time for Evie to retire, she decided that she didn’t want the typical staff party. When her husband asked her what she wanted instead, she said she wanted to host an event for patients. Her management liked the idea and put on an event where, “The patients and staff all mixed together, and there was a line to step up and take the microphone. It was the best feeling I could have ever felt.”


Turns out that the Arizona State Hospital has a long history, by Arizona standards. It was built as the Territorial Insane Asylum in 1887. But the funding and location were decided earlier, in 1885, at the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature, an assembly so famous for its backroom dealings that it came to be known as the “Thieving Thirteeth.” Phoenix was granted the big prize, the asylum, while the Legislature decided on Tucson for a university and Tempe for a teachers’ college. The original asylum burned in 1911, but was rebuilt, still at the same location, near 24th Street and Van Buren.

About the same time Evie was leaving the hospital, her husband Larry was retiring from his tenure as a steelworker specializing in HVAC. The two of them moved into the Sundial retirement park in Mesa, but spent much of their time hunting and fishing.

Then, after his heart problems and cancer, Larry passed. “He went to heaven six years ago,” said Evie. “I had a beautiful gift from God – 51 years together.”

Larry and Evie at their 25th Anniversary

The management company for Sundial is the same one as for Silveridge, and Evie remembers that after she lost her husband, George Igualt sought her out and asked if he or the park could be of help. “I imagine he was thinking of a memorial service or something,” she said, “but I told him, ‘I need a job.’” That led to Evie starting work for the company that helps maintain the parks. “I started out with a friend and we would open up the clubhouse in the morning and lock it up at night. Then I started working at The Resort and then at Silveridge, where she’s been working fulltime for five years.

April 1st will be Evie’s last day at Silveridge. She asked us to pass along this message:

“Thank everyone at Silveridge for giving me the support, kindness and love I so badly needed during the past five years. I will always cherish this great memory.”

Mars & Venus

In Touch

Message From Sue

Sixty Seven Years

Of Marriage

Left of tree is Thelma and Ken Lester

Right is NormaJean and Bill Moorefield

Recently we celebrated an Anniversary party hosted by our talented Karen Staker. All couples were recognized for their anniver-saries and two couples were honored for 67 years of marriage!

During the program she asked three couples to participate in the “Not so Newly Wed Game.” The object of the game was to see how many spouses remembered certain events over the years. It was a three way tie, with only half of the questions answered correctly.

Anniversary Poem

Love is patient and very kind

The other’s faults we do not mind;

Holding hands we go for a walk

We understand and don’t have to talk;

We share our secrets and are best friends

Happiness like this just has no end;

We treasure the good times and forget the bad,

We laugh and tease and never feel sad;

Love and marriage have stood the test,

All these years we’ve been very blessed!

March brought the Covid to everyone’s door

Didn’t matter whether rich or poor;

We now worry about one another’s health,

Much more important than money or wealth;

We’ll wait for hours to get that shot,

To crush the virus we haven’t yet caught;

We hope this new year will be better for all.

Karen Staker

The one thing that the game proved is that women and men remember things differ-ently. Do you recall the popular book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?” It is a classic guide to understanding the opposite sex and for men and women to improve their communication and relationships by acknowledging their differences. Author John Gray writes about nurturing relationships through the years and finding the emotional support from each other. Without this feeling, love and passion cannot grow.

With married couples having such different opinions, what is the secret to staying married? So I asked the experts who were the longest married couples and here’s what they had to say:

Thelma and Kenny Lester: “Love for each other is what matters. Marriage is not a bed of roses. It has it’s ups and downs, give and takes. If something is wrong; speak up.”

Norma Jean and Bill Moorefield: “We always do everything together. Silveridge has been our home for 33 years. We love our Silveridge family!”

If there is one thing that everyone agrees with, it is the challenges that Covid has brought. Many couples have quarantined and are lonely. Fear of getting sick and failing health are always a concern. Thank you to those who reach out with a lending hand to take residents to get their vaccine, or get groceries for them. Even a wave as you walk by their homes is an encouragement. (you know they will see you out their windows!) We may have different viewpoints on politics, Covid or whatever is going on in our lives, but let’s remember that it is ok to agree to disagree. Looking forward, let us be grateful for our many blessings. The vaccine is out! Masks are still in! Let’s love one another and embrace our differences while enjoying the Arizona sunshine!

Your Activity Director ,Sue


Activities Calendar


George Igualt, head of the parks’ management company, tells us that he’s getting positive feedback from residents about two new changes – the cameras around the park and the new palm trees. The cameras are part of the in-house television channel and George said, “It’s great for current events and for getting information out to residents as quickly as possible.” As for the new palm trees in the center drive, George noted, “We replaced the queen palms with pygmy date palms and they have more personality. I was surprised by how many have commented on them and glad that people like the choice.”

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If you’d like to volunteer to be the subject of an article, or have someone you’d like to learn more about, please let me know.

Or, if you have photos you’ll like to share in upcoming newsletters, please send them.

Dale Dauten, Editor