July 17, 2023
Kendal at Lexington, a serene haven nestled amidst nature’s splendor, has always been more than just a place to call home. It is a vibrant community brimming with captivating individuals and an abundance of opportunities for intellectual and physical stimulation. As we embark on a new initiative called “Faces of Kendal at Lexington,” we invite you to join us in celebrating the diverse and inspiring residents who contribute to the tapestry of life at Kendal. Through their unique stories, experiences and achievements, we aim to showcase the rich tapestry of personalities that make the community truly special.
Meet John and Elizabeth:
At Kendal at Lexington, John and Elizabeth Harralson’s journey began amidst the challenges of the pandemic. After spending 38 years in a historic 1815 house on 25 acres, they decided it was time to embrace the benefits of a community that offers a respite from the upkeep of such a massive property. They found solace in the serene ambiance of Kendal at Lexington.
A Diverse Professional Background:
John has an illustrious career in medicine and delivered a remarkable 3,500 babies in Rockbridge County over 20 years. He even delivered some current KaLex staff members.
Elizabeth embarked on a career that touched various fields. She spent six years teaching art and art history, both in private and public schools. Subsequently, she contributed to a senior citizen recreation program for the Lexington Parks and Recreation program, followed by a stint as a Research Assistance for the Virginia Military Institute Foundation’s capital campaign prospects. Part-time, she managed billing and insurance for John’s medical practice, and finally, from 1997 to 2002, she served as the first Marketing Director for Kendal at Lexington, an endeavor close to her heart.
As a couple, their most daring adventure was accepting a two-year stationing at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey from 1974 to 1976 to fulfill John’s military requirement. Although they resided in an 8′ x 40′ trailer during that period, the couple had the opportunity to explore the Middle East extensively during a relatively peaceful time.
“We visited countries such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Yugoslavia, the USSR and all corners of Turkey,” said Elizabeth. “Today, we acknowledge that revisiting many of those places might be challenging.”
Passionate About Establishing a CCRC in Lexington:
Elizabeth was instrumental in transforming Kendal at Lexington from a dream to a reality. Her motivation stemmed from losing cherished individuals to similar Life Plan Communities in the surrounding areas, particularly Charlottesville. She envisioned a place where her mother could reside (which she did for 11 years and 9 months) and where she and her husband could call home, as they do not have children of their own.
“Prospective residents should recognize the abundant benefits of living in Lexington—a town that combines the charm of small-town living with the enriching presence of not one, but two prestigious colleges,” said Elizabeth. “The community’s safety is exceptional, and the colleges offer a wealth of intriguing opportunities, including classes, speakers, plays, concerts and superb libraries. Lexington also provides ample volunteering options, such as the local library, food pantry, and hospital, to name a few.”
Finding Home at Kendal:
During their visit to Kendal as prospective residents, Elizabeth and John were shown a U+ cottage, and the prospect of having a multi-purpose room in the basement ignited their excitement. The couple was thrilled when they made their reservation, and the amenities at Kendal have become an integral part of their daily lives.
“We both enjoy the fitness center, participating in invigorating classes and utilizing state-of-the-art equipment,” said Elizabeth.
She particularly relishes the heated pool, where she indulges in water aerobics classes and aqua flow—yoga in the water.
“The community boasts exceptional fitness instructors, and the convenience of on-campus physical and occupational therapy is noteworthy,” said Elizabeth. “We have embraced the dining experience, savoring the excellent meals in the company of fellow residents, fostering engaging conversations and laughter. Kendal College classes, live-streamed concerts, and movie nights on Mondays and Thursdays offer a wealth of entertainment options. One can truly say there is never a dull moment at Kendal.”
Contributing to Community Enhancement:
Elizabeth actively participates in an ad hoc committee to improve the staff break room. Additionally, she plays the role of a “projectionist” for movies, ensuring a seamless viewing experience by managing the DVD player and closed captions in the Anderson Theater. John actively contributes to the Wellness Committee at KaLex.
Culinary Delights and Community Spirit:
“The dining experience at Kendal has been a delight for both of us,” said Elizabeth.
She appreciates the option of breakfast all day, relishes “Taco Tuesday,” and enjoys pear and fig paninis and Chinese suppers. John, on the other hand, has his own set of favorites.
“We find comfort in that if a particular menu doesn’t appeal to us, we can always opt for a burger or sandwich from the grill area on weeknights,” said Elizabeth.
Embracing Optimism and Doing Good:
Elizabeth’s favorite quote, from John Wesley, encapsulates the couple’s shared philosophy: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
“This optimism has been the driving force in our lives, and if we were to offer advice to our younger selves, it would be a simple, reassuring message: ‘Fret not. All will be well,'” said Elizabeth. “As we continue our journey at Kendal, we embrace each day with optimism, doing our part to make a positive impact and cherish the precious moments that unfold.”