Sharing Our Love of John Knox Village: The People – The Place

By Louise Caccamise
Photographs by Bob Dunham and Shannon Finley


One does not need a special day to express love, caring, and appreciation. However, national holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and our own occasion, Employee Appreciation Day, serve as focal points to bring these thoughts to the forefront. At this time, we think of people who hold a special place in our hearts and of those who have done things for us that we can never repay.

Each November, when we hold our Employee Appreciation Day, we customarily express our appreciation to our employees through the monetary fund contributed by John Knox residents for this purpose. This year, under the guidance of chairman Mary Giorgio, $327,360 was divided among the employees. In addition, we were told of the gift of former resident Francis Vanderslice, who left his estate of $214,713 to be given to the employees at John Knox this year. Living to be 101, this was his way of expressing appreciation for the daily courtesies extended to him and his wife, Doris, during their years at John Knox.

Francis Milton Vanderslice spent his childhood and adolescence in Camden, New Jersey, where he was born on February 20, 1916. He and his two older brothers were the sons of Charles B. and Mary A. Vanderslice. During his school years, he met Doris Miriam Barrett. Later at age 26, after five years of dating, they married in Camden at Epiphany Evangelist Lutheran Church on June 26, 1942. After marriage they moved to Pennsauken, New Jersey, where they bought their first home.

Former residents Francis and Doris Vanderslice gifted their estate of $214,713 to this year’s Employee Appreciation Fund.

Francis had a career of 38 years at Campbell’s Soup Company where he was an inspector. During that time Doris taught kindergarten. Though they had no children, they had the fun of raising three dachshunds and enjoyed traveling. After retiring in 1975, the Vanderslices moved to Delray, Florida, where there were relatives. Then after experiencing vision problems, they moved to John Knox Village in Orange City where they lived for almost 20 years. Here in 2014, at the ages of 98 and 97, they celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary at Oak View Suites Assisted Living. They still had in their possession, after more than seven decades, a worn and long-preserved metal can that had been tied to the back of their car as they left for their wedding trip in a pouring rain. This cherished possession served as a token of a lasting love.




Employees joined residents in the Barker Center on November 20 for the Employee Appreciation Reception.

Doris Vanderslice passed away on November 26, 2016 and Francis Vanderslice on January 12, 2018. A service celebrating his life was held at John Knox on February 14, 2018.Francis Vanderslice’s gift to John Knox employees touches many lives. It tells a heartwarming story of gratitude for the daily care that he and his wife received at John Knox. It also tells the story of a retirement village that provides this kind of environment. The memory of Mr. Vanderslice’s thoughtfulness will live on.

Francis Vanderslice’s gift to John Knox employees touches many lives. It tells a heartwarming story of gratitude for the daily care that he and his wife received at John Knox. It also tells the story of a retirement village that provides this kind of environment. The memory of Mr. Vanderslice’s thoughtfulness will live on.

John Knox Village has been home to many residents over the last 40 years. The overwhelming sense of family and community ties everyone together. On these pages we share a few thoughts from those who have had more than one generation in their family living at John Knox Village. If you are a second generation resident and would like to share your John Knox story, contact Louise Caccamise.

Debbie Artigliere
My mom, Carol Johnson, moved into John Knox Village about 12 years ago. I was living in Port Orange, driving back and forth to JKV to visit her and her late husband, Bruce G. Johnson. When Bruce became a permanent resident of Majestic Oaks, I was driving many times per week between Port Orange and Orange City. Tiring of this routine, my husband Tony Artigliere and I decided to just move in!!! It was the best decision for everyone. I love John Knox Village and I love my mother.

Faith Carlson
My parents, Dr. Elvin and Eleanor Holstius, moved into John Knox Village in 1991. They were both 70 years old. My husband and I had the joy of visiting them in their cottage on Dogwood Court each year and seeing the wonderful changes as JKV grew and flourished. We came to know some of my parents’ delightful friends and heard about their enjoyable activities. We are grateful for the care and support they received here while they lived life fully and died peacefully, Mom in 2002 and Dad in 2017. My husband Dan and I researched CCRCs from New Hampshire to Florida. Once deciding to come here, we shared with Dad that the choice was made primarily because JKV was the best place for us, also. My parents’ “torch” was passed to the next generation of delighted and involved residents of this very special community.

Joan LaFleur
I grew fond of John Knox Village while visiting my mother, Eleanor Johnson, here. She came to Orange City in 1967 after the death of my father, Ralph Johnson. She moved from Canandaigua, New York, to the house at 343 East Graves Avenue, which had been left to her by her mother, and watched John Knox Village being built. As she aged, she knew that she wanted the security, easy living, and continuing care that John Knox offered, so she moved here in 1980. My husband Bob and I moved from east of Albany, New York, to the East Graves house at Christmas time 1993 and spent a lot of time visiting Eleanor at John Knox in the following years. My mother always said that “people move to John Knox too late [in their remaining years], and there’s so much going on here, that’s a shame!” Bob and I didn’t want to move to John Knox too late, so we moved here in April 2006, and we love it.

Susan Pogue
I first learned about John Knox Village in 1988 when my parents, Margaret and Kenneth Mansfield, decided to become residents. It was a decision that gave them great peace of mind. As their only child, I observed over the 23 years they lived at JKV that they were happy and very well cared for. Thus, early in 2015, after being widowed for nine years, I started to think about my future as an aging adult. JKV easily came to the forefront. Marketing was great about providing information and answering questions. I signed on the dotted line and moved to JKV in November 2015. It is now three years later and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel so fortunate to be a JKV resident!