Discovering a Purpose and Passion

Posted by: Debbie Parrett - Thursday, September 24, 2020




In 2011, Bernie T. was looking for a retirement community with a woodshop. He had visited a retirement community in Dayton where retirees were building small wooden cars for Toys for God’s Kids. Bernie met St. Leonard residents Fred and Pete with whom he would work building those cars. He was not a woodworker but Fred taught him the ropes. Later his wife was having medical issues and they needed some assistance. “St. Leonard was the logical first choice,” Bernie says.

 Bernie had been looking at all the options in the Dayton area as his wife’s condition deteriorated. Every community had a long waiting list. One snowy, icy February day in 2014 he received a postcard in the mail from a realtor who had a client who wanted to buy a home in the Kettering neighborhood. That day the buyers put in an offer on his home that was immediately accepted. Bernie remembers, “My first call was to Keitha Brown at St. Leonard. Keitha help! A North Garden Home was open, but there were several people ahead on the waiting list. Later that evening Keitha called back and said that they all decided they were not ready to move.” The Thompsons were blessed; in one miserable cold day they sold and bought two homes.

 It was May 8th when their new home was ready. He hired Smooth Transitions to help with inevitable downsizing. His wife’s health condition made the move difficult, but Smooth Transitions really did make the move easier. The big surprise and blessing was a knock on our door that evening. Frances, their new neighbor, stopped by to introduce herself and bring a thoughtful house warming gift.

 Bernie most enjoys interacting with the other residents here at St. Leonard, selling beer at the BoomerFest, taking rehab residents to Mass on Sunday mornings, and doing woodworking. Six months after moving in, his wife passed away. Bernie was in a dark place, but a neighbor invited him to a poker party in Sister O’s room. The interaction with others started a recovery, but most importantly he was drawn to the picture of the Riant Christ. Several years later, the Director of Wellness suggested he visit the artist’s widow. Another blessing! “I have been enjoying Christina’s laughter and company for the past two years,” says Bernie.

 Bernie is a Chicago native. He and his wife raised four children who had nine grandsons. After a career through several companies, the Thompsons moved to Dayton when Bernie joined Mead Digital. “I was a deacon in a Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky," he says. His last employer prior to retiring was with Miami University, teaching math to math teachers.

 Bernie also enjoys traveling, listening to classical music, and having a glass of wine (or two) in the evening.

St. Leonard is blessed to have wonderful residents like Bernie!

Currently, Bernie has volunteered to inscribe memorial messages on the wooden benches disbursed around campus (pictured.) If you are interested in a memorial bench, the cost is $200 to $250 to cover the cost of the bench, with the remainder going to the St. Leonard Benevolent Fund. Call Debbie Parrett 937-439-7152, for more information.