Hailing From Tom’s River, NJ, these Boomers now make Southern Delaware their home.
Bob & Ellen Smith moved to Southern Delaware from Tom’s River, NJ, in June of 2018. But that is not the beginning of their story; they met in New Haven, CT, while both were in college. Ellen was in nursing school and Bob was attending Yale University. The story is that one of Bob’s roommates talked him into attending a dance. He reluctantly agreed and almost left early, but then he spotted this beautiful young woman in a red dress dancing. They ended up dancing together and he never let her go from then on!
Bob went on to Oberlin College in Ohio, then he and Ellen married in 1966 and moved to St. Louis. During their years in St. Louis, Ellen, a neo-natal nurse, began working 3 weeks evenings and 1 week of days. Bob taught high school English. They caught a few hours together as they could in between Ellen’s shifts and Bob’s daytime job; it gave Bob plenty of time for lesson plans and grading papers! Bob eventually was made the High School Principal.
An opportunity to become the Principal at a new Middle School in Tenafly, NJ, caused them to relocate to New Jersey. By the time they moved to Tenafly, they had 3 children and two busy careers. Ellen’s nursing career took her to Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, which became part of St. Luke’s Hospital in 1979. Having lived on Manhattan’s West Side, I was familiar with Roosevelt Hospital. Ellen worked in both dermatology and the pediatric group at the hospital.
Bob’s first retirement was from that position in Tenafly after an eight-year stint, but he never was able to stay retired. He served several times as Principal or Interim Superintendent at school districts in Central and Southern New Jersey.
So here is one of those coincidences I like to talk about – after Tenafly, Bob spent years as the Principal at Rumson-Fair Haven High School. I know exactly where that school is because my parents moved to Rumson after I had left home. Their home was on a dead-end street right next to Rumson-Fair Haven High School!
They bought a second home in a 55+ community in Tom’s River, with an eye toward eventual retirement. It was convenient to Rumson for Bob and they fully expected to spend their retirement years living in Tom’s River. Ellen remained active in nursing at a Clinic in Tom’s River when they sold the Tenafly home and moved full time.
Why the move to Delaware?
As they approached full retirement, the cost of living in New Jersey continued to go up for many residents in a state that already rates among the most expensive in the nation. A major tax increase in 2016 as well as the imposition of new fees and the 23-cent hike in the gas tax, helped the Smiths to come to that decision. They didn’t want to go far since their oldest son lives in Hamilton, NJ. Another son lives in Orlando, FL, and their daughter lives with them. They already knew people that had relocated to Delaware and they contacted Active Adults Realty to help them investigate the possibilities.
They made several trips and looked at different communities and locations in Northern, Central and Southern Delaware. When Bob told Debbie Shearer, his agent from Active Adults Realty, “we’re not looking to buy a house, we’re looking to buy a community”, Debbie decided to take them to Heritage Shores. With all the activities and amenities, they loved it right away.
Both Bob & Ellen are very active retirees. Bob is an avid pickleballer, so he was won over by the 4 dedicated pickleball courts. Bob is also involved with the Woodworkers’ Guild, which raises money through the sale of wooden toys and other items they make and sell at Craft Shows in the area. That money is used to purchase the supplies to make toys donated to the Pediatric Ward at Nanticoke Hospital as well as Toys for Tots.
While the Woodworkers craft toys, Ellen and the Quilters stay busy making quilts or fleece blankets trimmed out with crocheted edges to donate to every baby that leaves Nanticoke Hospital! It is retirees like Bob & Ellen, well educated, active and engaged people that provide invaluable leadership and assistance within our community. Bob tells me that all but one of Board members of the Bridgeville Public Library, is a resident of Heritage Shores. Through their church, where they both volunteer in the nursery, they are working to get a tutoring program started to help children succeed. A similar one they started in Tenafly, NJ, was called “The Homework Club” and they had a waiting list of children wanting to know how to get in.
They are celebrating 53 years of marriage and I asked both what was on their Bucket List. Ellen thought about it and said she was very content. She and Bob have been all over the world, visiting Australia and New Zealand, China, Africa, and many European countries. Thanks to an indulgent wife, said Bob, he has already been skydiving, tandem style. A few years ago, Bob also filled a lifelong dream to be a Balloon Walker in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade! He would still like to drive a race car, but not in a race.
Happy Anniversary Bob & Ellen!
We would love to help you find your dream home in Delaware and live your best retirement life here. You can get your Delaware home search started right here on our website, or contact one of our Active Adults Realty Agents today.