March 2021 Newsletter

The latest in our series…

The People of the Park:

Gerry Carson

By Dale Dauten


What do Butterball turkeys and the Rolling Stones have in common? Well, they both came up while visiting with Gerry Carson about his life and his career. Both were relevant because Gerry split much of his time between his love of music and his success in the grocery and food brokerage business.

As for music, if you’ve been lucky enough to see the Silveridge House Band in action, then you know that part of the enjoyment of being in the audience is seeing how much fun the musicians are having. So you won’t be surprised to hear that when we asked Gerry to describe a perfect day, he told us, “I can tell you this — my biggest joy is music. I love creating music charts for the band.”

PHOTOS: Top – That’s Gerry on the right along with ( L-to-R) Al Cook, Morrie Woodruff and Rob Foy. Lower—at the Sweetheart Dance


Gerry grew up in Plattsburg, Missouri, which he describes as “definitely, small town America.” (Photos below: Downtown Plattsburg and one of the town’s historic homes)


It was there in Plattsburg that Gerry’s love of music first turned into side gigs – in middle school and high school he played in a rock band at first called The Lamplighters, although “the name changed about 15 times.” The music also changed over time: “This was the late ‘60s and we played the Rolling Stones because they were popular with the kids,” Gerry recalled, “but the adults were into contemporary country and the adults had the money, so we could make more playing for them.”

After Plattsburg High, Gerry went to Western Missouri State University and it was around then that he started dating the girl from Plattsburg who would become Mrs. Sharon Carson. They’ve now been married 48 years.

(Photo: Sharon and Gerry)

Gerry graduated from WMSU with a music degree, but realized that teaching music wouldn’t support a family, so he accepted an offer from the grocery store where he’d worked part-time during school, and soon became a store manager. From there, he moved in sales management for Conagra, the giant food broker who represented dozens of product lines, including Butterball Turkeys, Campbell’s soups, Kingsford Charcoal and Swanson’s Frozen Dinners. (It was the mention of Swanson’s that brought back old memories for us and Gerry told us, “I wasn’t there for the introduction of the frozen TV dinner but I was there when Swanson’s did their first microwave meal, called Le Menu.”) Along the way, he added another college degree, this one in business from North Central College in Illinois. And that love of music never died – he always played music in church and was Choir Director for a church in suburban Kansas City.


Even before Gerry retired, he and Sharon had begun traveling with a 5th-wheeler, and they decided they wanted to spend time in Arizona: “We checked out 10 or 12 places in the Valley,” he remembered, “and we booked a spot at Silveridge for three months. That was seven years ago. We kept coming back and two years ago bought a park model.”

But, even having retired from his longtime sales career, Gerry wasn’t ready to really retire. He started a construction business back where the Carsons spend their summers, in the Kansas City area, inspired to do so by his grandfather who taught him construction as a young man. He credits his granddad with having offered the best advice he’s ever gotten: “If you do it right, you’ll never have to apologize.” And that led to, “My mantra is ‘Build it right the first time.’ And that means overbuilding it.”

But that’s for Kansas City. Here at Silveridge, in addition to his time with the band, he also helped with the new sound system in the Silveridge Ballroom. It turns out that Silveridge resident and House Band drummer, Rob Foy, was a professional sound engineer who led the effort. Gerry says of the new sound system, “I am very, very impressed with the result and I think the entertainers Sue [Sue Arneson, Activities Director] brings in will be impressed, too.”

Finally, he added another of his favorite things about Silveridge, is the men’s coffee group. He laughed and said, “We solve half the world’s problems, every day.”


Thank you for making

Silveridge a Brighter Place!

Message From Sue

Most of you know that my last message of the season is always dedicated to all our volunteers. This was certainly a year that our volunteers and leaders brightened our lives! It was a challenge to keep our activities going with the chaos that the pandemic brought to our world. Dealing with Covid put a whole new set of rules of “ Safe Fun” in our Silveridge Activities. You stepped up to the plate with writing and applying the safety guidelines to your clubs and activities. Since we could not have people from outside the park, you thought outside the box by creating “Fun Play”, “Night Play” and other ingenious ways of having fun with your own Silveridge friends. Kudos to all of you who kept it going forward; to all the time, energy and passion you put into the task that was before you. Whether it was being a Club Leader, washing dishes in the kitchen, beautifying the ballroom with your deco-rating talent, stocking library shelves, or whatever your volunteering skill; you did it with professionalism and with a smile! As always, you gave away many of the projects that you worked on; such as the ceramic club members who made mugs for low income seniors or the quilting members who made and gave away Quilts of Valor to the Veterans.

Thank You to those of you who are new to volunteering and are replacing volunteers who are taking on new goals or moving on to different opportunities. Thank you to those volunteers who have served for years and thank you to the “newbies.” Over 70 Silveridge mugs were delivered to new people in the park and what a joy it was to meet most of you at our Welcome Class. There is so much talent in this park and I challenge you, even if you are new, to share your gifts. There are mentors to guide you.

To all those who volunteer in unseen ways; such as driving residents to get their Covid vaccines, bringing cards and food to the sick to house bound residents; thank you. And let’s not forget our corporate leaders, business office ladies, cleaning staff, and maintenance workers who make our park beautiful! We have missed all our Canadian friends and all those who could not make it back this year for health reasons. We look for-ward to your return next season with open arms!

A few personal thank yous: To Sharon, my friend and assistant who serves you with a smile and has been a blessing to me during the year; to Jerry our kitchen manager who brings us delicious meals cooked with love; to Tracy, our head volunteer coordinator, who recruits and trains the 100 plus kitchen volunteers;

To John and Deb Bartlett who take care of our set–ups and cleaning after all our functions. I am grateful for my husband, Jeff, who is “ my sounding board” and who stands beside me through better or worse.

The journey this year was made brighter with the prayer support of my “Balcony Friends.” These Silveridge friends uplifted the entire Silveridge Community.

It is with appreciation that I honor all our volunteers with recognition, food and entertainment at our Volun-teer Party. Thank you for brightening our lives and making a difference to our Silveridge family!

Your Activity Director ,Sue

Activities Calendar



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Dale Dauten, Editor


Text: 480-297-6244