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Through the looking glass

Retired pastor discovers new hobbies at every life turn

Created date

February 26th, 2013

Roland Boehnke, a retired pastor, spent his career in a church surrounded by beautiful stained glass. When he retired in 1996, he decided to try his hand at creating some of the stunning stained glass he had previously admired. Roland says his former secretary gave him a gift certificate to take classes at a stained glass studio, and that gift marked the beginning of his new hobby. I had always been interested in making stained glass because my sister did it, Roland says. After I took the lessons, I got hooked on it and bought equipment for my own home.

Glass gifts

Roland set up a workshop with glasscutters, a grinder, a diamond saw, and other tools for creating stained glass. Over the years, he s created a number of colorful glass pieces. He spends a significant amount of time crafting each one. Roland says he s never sold his stained glass. Instead, he gives the pieces as gifts to his family. Roland and his wife Dolores have four children and six grandchildren. I ve made pieces for all of our kids, he says. They all have stained glass pieces in their homes. Roland also has shared the fruits of his labor with the church where he previously worked. One of the projects he is most proud of is a stained glass depiction of Noah s Ark that he donated to his church. The piece of art measures three feet high and nine feet wide, and Roland says it hangs at a low level so children are able to see it up close.

A look at life

The Boehnkes moved from Mission, Kans., toTallgrass Creek, an Erickson Living community in Overland Park, in September 2012. Roland says they had been members of the community s priority list, which gave them opportunities to attend events at Tallgrass Creek and priority access to hot-selling apartment homes. They were able to look into life at Tallgrass Creek before they moved. Because they had been on the priority list for several years, when the Boehnkes decided they wanted to move to a retirement community, they knew exactly which place would be right for them. Tallgrass Creek was always in the back of our minds, Roland says. When we realized we couldn t keep up with all of the yard work and the housework, we decided to move here, and we haven t regretted it one bit. Of course, the Boehnkes have incorporated some of Roland s stained glass into the d cor at their Tallgrass Creek apartment home. Roland says they have six pieces hanging in their home, including one of an angel that looks over a gracious arch window. The Boehnkes continue to live an active retirement and have taken the opportunity to try some new activities since moving to Tallgrass Creek. Roland and Dolores both sing in the community s choir. They also plan to join the hospitality committee and become official Tallgrass Creek ambassadors residents who volunteer to take prospective community members on tours of the campus. There really are a lot of things to do here, Roland says.