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Meet Eva and Ken Angell

From ‘homeless’ to happy

Created date

February 20th, 2014
residents in front of office

Creek residents Eva and Ken Angell remember watching the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community being built several years ago as they drove along bustling Metcalf Avenue.

“We watched it go up story by story as we visited friends and family in that part of town,” says Eva. “It planted the seed in our heads that we may need to think about a retirement community at some point.”

Several years later, they did just that when a real estate agent knocked on their door and asked if they would be interested in selling their house located in one of Leawood’s highly sought-after neighborhoods. The Angells had lived there for 24 years.

“A week later, our home was sold, and we were homeless,” laughs Eva. “We called [Tallgrass Creek Sales Counselor] Judy Baxter, set up an appointment, and next thing we knew we were looking at floor plans.” 

Room to spare

The Angells moved into one of Tallgrass Creek’s roomy, two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath McKinley-style apartment homes in January 2012. Ken, a nature-lover, was impressed with not only the size of their new home but also the rolling grounds of Tallgrass Creek with its formal and back-to-nature landscaping.

“I have plenty of elbow room to take a good, vigorous walk outside and enough room inside to not feel crowded or cramped,” says Ken. “That means a lot to me.” 

Ken, a retired educator, taught advanced placement biology for 27 years in Kansas City, Mo.’s Center High School. He also served as an adjunct professor in nursing for 15 years at Johnson County Community College, located in Overland Park.

“I came in contact with some wonderful and very bright kids,” says Ken, who holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s from Emporia State University.

Eva and Ken met at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, located in Alva, Okla., where she took classes while Ken worked on his degree. She enjoyed a busy career as the co-administrator of a medical clinic for 29 years and spent an additional 14 years as the office administrator for a local plastic surgeon. Both she and Ken enjoy hearing about the varied professions and careers of their fellow neighbors. 

“It’s amazing what some of the residents have accomplished,” says Eva. “It makes for great dinner conversation.” 

Hospitality, travel, woodworking, and nature

The Angells have found a lot of pleasure in many of the activities Tallgrass Creek offers. As a member of the community’s travel committee, Eva helps organize outings to places such as Strawberry Hill Povitica, a popular eastern European bakery and museum located in Merriam, Kans.; Jamesport, Mo., the state’s largest Amish settlement; and during the holidays, the Kansas City Symphony’s popular Christmas program.  

Eva also enjoys being a member of the Hospitality Committee, which, among other activities, hosts residents’ birthday parties and meets and greets newcomers to Tallgrass Creek.

Ken enjoys the community’s Nature Club, which sponsors walks around the community’s grounds complete with explanations about its lush, native plants and natural ecosystems. Additionally, the organization sponsors speakers about topics such as the restoration of the Kansas prairie and other environmental issues.

Ken also belongs to the Woodcrafter’s Club, which meets regularly in the well-stocked woodshop located behind the Sunflower Bistro. In addition to producing items for philanthropic projects such as sturdy doll cradles for a children’s charity, the group creates their own personal projects and helps out with furniture repairs for residents. 

The Angells have been married for 59 years, have four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren—all local. They have been in their new home for two years and can think of nowhere else they would rather be.

“There is so much to do,” says Eva. “You can do as little or as much as you like, but either way, it’s all here.”