Widow sees blessings in decision to move
In her 90s, Gwen Popejoy Bonnell contemplated moving from her home into a retirement center, as some older adults do. She is sure God provided her with clarity for that decision. Today she is a charter resident of Crestwood, a new section of Oklahoma Methodist Manor in Tulsa.
Tulsa is Gwen’s longtime home, and she has been active for 82 years at First United Methodist Church. She joined when her family moved into the city from what then was country (now Second and Pittsburgh).
Gwen attended Central High School, graduated from Tulsa Business College, and worked eight years at the Tulsa World. She married Ken Popejoy, and they operated a real estate company. They had three children, and Gwen now counts 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Ken is deceased.
At her 50th high school reunion, in 1987, Gwen reconnected with classmate Bob Bonnell, who also attended First UMC. They were married and enjoyed five years together, traveling the world, until his death.
Gwen attended her 75th high school reunion last year, and she also moved into the Manor. She relocated on July 9, less than a month after the Crestwood residences opened. She especially likes the Manor’s midtown location.
She had decided in late 2010 to move into Crestwood, but had told no one. Then neighbors Dr. and Mrs. Darwin Olson rang the doorbell at Gwen’s home one evening.
"We just helped Mrs. Olson’s mother move to a retirement community, and we need to downsize. Is there a chance that you’ll be moving to one any time soon?" they asked.
Gwen smiled and invited them inside.
"I truly believe God sent them to buy my house at just the right time, because they let me live in it until I could move in July of 2012," Gwen said.
She sold her car in December and uses OMM transportation for shopping and weekly trips to play bridge.
"I wanted to give up my car before anyone suggested it, and I haven’t looked back," Gwen said. In the previous decade, she was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for at least eight years, responding to a plea for delivery drivers, according to the World.
At Crestwood, she enjoys The Charter Oak Restaurant and Spann Wellness Center. Gwen takes part in fitness classes including Seniorsize. And she initiated a two-table bridge game in the Members Club Room on the fourth floor.
At age 92, Gwen said the feeling of security is most important to her at the Manor.
She advised others considering such a move, "Come with the idea of enjoying it. Keep the past in the past as memories, and live for today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, because when you live in a place like OMM, everything in the future is taken care of."
(Contributed by Cari Owens, OMM)