Leisure World News

A Tribute to My Wife, Mary Ann Steffan: 65 Years of Life and Love By Don Steffan On October 9, 1956, I married the woman that would change the scope of my life forever — Mary Ann. We were married in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. Early Years We met for the first time in seventh grade. We started out as friends but naturally, by the time we reached high school, we were going out together. After graduation, Mary Ann attended nurse’s training in Valley City, North Dakota. I entered the National Guard and was sent to work at Camp Grafton, which was two hours away from Mary Ann. I loved her and knew that she was going to be my wife, so I waited for her to complete her training before we got married. After Mary Ann graduated from nursing school, we tied the knot! We lived and moved to several different places due to my career in the military. We began to expand our family and had four children, three girls and one boy. I was amazed at how Mary Ann managed motherhood and her career. It is not easy to be the wife of a serviceman, yet she encouraged me and took care of our home. She held many positions as a nurse and was a phenomenal mother and wife. She handled everything with such grace and intention. She was wonderful! In 1992, Mary Ann ended her career as a nursing director over a 120-bed facility. Then she traveled with me on my assignments, with my last one being in Washington, DC, at the Pentagon. Shortly thereafter, I retired in 1995. A Fun Second Act For the past 20 years, we have made Leisure World our home and are active in the community. With Mary Ann’s support, I have served on the Governing Board for four years and I am a member of the Lions Club. As I look back, I see that it was the love and support of my wife that has allowed me to accomplish so many wonderful things in my life. Now, Mary Ann and I are proud grandparents to nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. We are expecting our fifth great-grandchild in November. Mary Ann, thank you for 65 wonderful years of love, support, patience and motivation! You are my greatest inspiration! I love you! Happy 65th Wedding Anniversary! -Don Steffan is a Leisure World resident and Lions Club member. Don and Mary Ann on their wedding day. October 2021 www.lwca.com Stargazing event Page B1 Investing Advantages Page A16 Wanted: Crafters and Artists! Page A12 L eisure W orld N ews The speed limit on Leisure World streets is 25 mph. No passing. Don and Mary Ann at their neice’s wedding in 2018. WEDDED BLISS Giving Back One Pillow at a Time Blessed are those who dare to give generously! And that’s exactly what Leisure World resident Fran Chenoweth has done with her love of crafting — specifically making pillowcases for children in need. The COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 altered the lives of many. Club and craft meetings were cancelled, which forced people to come up with clever ways to stay active. Fran was no exception. The 94-year-old expert crafter was looking for something to do during the pandemic. “I actually said a prayer and asked God to give me something to do while we had to shelter in place during COVID-19,” recalls 94-year-old Fran. “And God answered in the most providential way!” Ryan’s Case for Smiles Fran’s prayer was answered via a chance outing with her son and daughter-in-law at a fabric store while talking to the owner. It was then she discovered her newfound purpose. The store owner was affiliated with Ryan’s Case for Smiles, a volunteer organization in Arizona, and shared how the group is dedicated to helping sick children around the globe feel better and heal. Established in 2007, the nonprofit brings comfort and support to young patients and their families as they undergo treatment. Ryan’s Case for Smiles started with a simple goal: to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases that give children an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness. Improving their morale and quality of life helps pave their way to healing. Fran was in awe of the group’s mission, and even more so since one of her hobbies is making pillowcases. In the past, she created pillowcases for homeless children who had no bags to carry their personal items. Given Fran’s crafting history, her son and daughter- in-law knew this was a perfect match. The pair brought Fran a new fancy sewing machine and fabric to get her started. “I was inspired by one of the stories that I heard about a boy who had received the pillowcases,” explains Fran. “He had been sick for four years. His illness was no longer treatable, and the boy knew that he was going to die. His wish was that he would be buried with his pillowcases. I knew after hearing this story that I had to get involved.” Fran got busy and in four months made 224 pillowcases. She makes the pillowcases by hand with special material that features children and cartoon characters. “I have a system now and can make one pillowcase in an hour-and-a-half,” says Fran. “I make five pillowcases per day.” Every pillowcase makes a difference! Ryan’s Case for Smiles donates 1,000 pillows each month in Arizona to children in need. Inspired Smiles Children and teenagers alike receive the pillowcases when they come into the hospital. The children are given a new pillowcase once per day. No treatment is off limits. Whether you are a child suffering from a terminal illness or may have broken an arm at a game, you receive a pillowcase. It is comforting to the children and the parents to know that there are people who care so much to bring a smile to children during such a hard time. The pillowcases are such a delight to the children. A little girl who had been in the hospital for a long time had received so many pillowcases that she asked her father to make her a cabinet at home to put them all in. Fran doing what she loves best! continues on page A3