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Meet the neighbors

Jim and Marilyn Heley enjoy this chapter of their lives

Created date

March 24th, 2014
couple in their home office

Creek residents Marilyn and Jim Heley have busy lives that center around family, business, and volunteer work. 

The Heleys moved into their Wakefield-style apartment home at the Overland Park, Kans., community five years ago. The floor plan has two spacious bedrooms, an office, and a sunny kitchen. Though they’ve kept many of their activities from their lives in Prairie Village, they’ve added some new activities and friends to the mix. 

“We try to take advantage of what Tallgrass Creek has to offer,” says Marilyn. “That includes an easy lifestyle and meeting some splendid people with very interesting lives.”    

A one-woman book club

Thirteen years ago, Marilyn, a librarian employed by the Johnson County Library, founded the organization’s outreach program, which provides books to seniors in retirement communities. These days, Marilyn, now retired and an avid reader, volunteers her time visiting various retirement communities and introducing interested residents to the latest best sellers.

“I do research about authors and try to share not only some insightful information about the book but some humorous details as well,” says Marilyn, who also does her best seller presentations at Tallgrass Creek. 

Marilyn also enjoys working with Tallgrass Creek’s HUGS committee, which oversees the community’s charitable donations. Along with other residents, she provides homemade cookies each month for lunches provided to disadvantaged people in the greater community.

Off to work 

As the owner of James Heley Enterprises, a steel service center and warehouse located in Mission, Jim’s days are busy. 

“We buy steel from mills in this country and from overseas and sell it to original equipment manufacturers,” says Jim. “I’ve owned my company since 1975 and still enjoy going to work every day.” 

Prior to leaving each morning for work, Jim usually makes time to work out in Tallgrass Creek’s on-site, state-of-the-art fitness center. 

 “It’s much easier to work out when I don’t have to go somewhere else to do it,” says Jim. He just walks down the hall from his apartment home to get there and has plenty of time to shower before work.

The Heleys also enjoy the learning opportunities available at Tallgrass Creek, such as the University of Kansas Osher Lifelong Learning programs featured at Tallgrass Creek and other retirement communities in the metro area. Additionally, they enjoy the “Share Your Story” presentations at Tallgrass Creek, where residents talk about their current or former careers. 

Family time

The Heleys have been married for 61 years and have 6 daughters and 15 grandchildren. They frequently travel from home to home, watching University of Kansas sports with their children and grandchildren who live in the Kansas City area. The Heleys also frequently host their children and grandchildren at Sunday brunches in the Blue Sky Restaurant. 

“The kids just love the food and whole experience,” says Marilyn. “They always want to come for brunch.”      

But Marilyn also makes good use of her large, cheerful kitchen, as her grandchildren love to gather around the couple’s dining room table and enjoy her French bread sandwiches and rice pudding. 

“We have enough room that we don’t feel crowded,” says Marilyn. “It was very important to us that we have space for our family, and we found that here at Tallgrass.”   

“We enjoyed raising our family in our former home, and now we enjoy living here,” says Jim. “It’s all about chapters. When one finishes, another one begins.”