Wesley Village tenant Dick Frowein donates $25,000 to Pursuit of Home
MACOMB - Dick Frowein wants to give back to the place he calls home.
For the past five years that has been Wesley Village, a 45-acre retirement community on the east side of town at 1200 E. Grant St. On Wednesday, the 87-year-old retired teacher donated $25,000 toward the retirement home’s fundraising campaign to redesign four wings of the 85,565-square-foot building.
Frowein said he wanted to contributed to his home and honor his family, which the Wesley Village staff has become for him.
“To me, they’re family,” Frowein said.
“I just want to thank Dick and his family for this wonderful gift of $25,000,” said Wesley Village Director of Fundraising Kassie Courson. “Jan and Dick are very well respected in Macomb.”
Courson said the donation will go toward establishing a new living room and adjacent library in one of four “houses” being developed within the retirement home.
Courson said the living room and library that will be constructed inside the Epperson House will be named the Frowein Family Living Room and an adjacent library, to be named after Frowein’s late wife, Jan, and his daughters.
“Within the living room there will be a library with books, which Jan would have wanted,” Courson said. “It will be in memory of his wife, Jan, and daughter, Jyl, and late daughter Robin. So this will be the Jan, Jyl and Robin Frowein Library.”
Frowein and his wife moved to Wesley Village five years ago this month. Jan Frowein died two months ago. Dick and Jan met as students at Western Illinois University in 1951 and married on Aug. 2, 1965. He taught for 18 years at Macomb High School and she was a teacher at Lincoln School in Macomb. They were married for 64 years.
Frowein said he wanted to make a donation to build a library because his wife loved to read.
“My wife was a voracious reader,” Frowein said. “She was in the Women’s Club here in Macomb, and they had a reading program, and she was a member of that reading program.’
Frowein said his wife would read as many as 800 to 1,000 books a year. She was at one time recorded as having read the second-most books among the members of the Illinois Women’s Club and would receive certificates from the Secretary of State, who was the state’s librarian, to commemorate her prolific reading.
“I thought this would be a way to honor her and our two daughters, were also big readers,” Frowein said.
Frowein’s contribution is the latest toward the retirement community, which has been raising money for its Pursuit of Home project, a new concept of retirement home and community services. Already, Wesley Village has redeveloped one of its wings into its first of four new “households,” known as McCreery House, with more to be developed. Courson said McCreery House and the other three households to be designed will be built with the appearances and comforts of home.
“The homes are built within the building, but we want it to look just like home,” she said.
McCreery House has aluminum-looking siding along the walls of the hallways that separate each one and have paneled-paned windows with shutters. And like a house, there is a door bell by the front door.
“The days of the typical nursing station is gone,” Courson said. “When you enter, we ask that you ring the doorbell, just like I would if I came to your house.”Inside is a nursing station and the tenants have access to a community living room and kitchen, which is designed with drop-down countertops at wheelchair-level height. An adjacent four seasons room has recently been built from another donation and its opening is pending the public health department’a approval.
The bathrooms are also designed with the clients’ comfort in mind. They will include shower stalls with seats and handles and whirlpool bath tubs.
“We’ve turned the institutional-looking bathroom into a more spa-like environment,” Courson said. “We really want this to be a home, more of natural way of living that is state-of-the-art.”
Courson said each household will cost an estimated $250,000 and will be funded entirely by donations. She also said Wesley Village, which opened in Macomb in 1979, provides independent apartments, home health in the facility and in the community as well as memory care and short-term rehabilitation services.
She said, “We are the first agency senior-living facility in this entire region to offer this type of living.”
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