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A Devonshire love story for Valentine’s Day

Created date

January 30th, 2015
man playfully kissing his wife

Every community has a love story. 

The story at at PGA National, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is Joe and Dorothy Paparelli’s.

They met decades ago when they and their spouses wintered in Palm Beach Gardens. The couples socialized together, golfed together, and even visited one another up north during the summers. 

They continued to stay in touch through the years, through permanent moves to Florida and after Dorothy’s husband, and then Joe’s wife, passed away.

In 2003, Dorothy decided to trade homeowner responsibilities for Devonshire’s five-star amenities, in particular its valet service and weekly housekeeping service.

She was also impressed that because its three residence buildings and elegant clubhouse are all connected, she needn’t traipse outside through heat or rain to pursue activities or enjoy dinner in the community’s five restaurants. 

In her holiday card to Joe, who lived in Port St. Lucie, Dorothy said she’d soon be moving to Devonshire. “I’m going to spoil myself,” she wrote. 

In no time, Joe was asking Dorothy on dinner dates, and in less than a year he, too, had moved to Devonshire. Then, at a party he and Dorothy were hosting at Devonshire with another couple, Joe announced that he’d proposed.

The room erupted in applause until Joe added, “And she turned me down flat.”

Still, he wasn’t deterred. Joe’s persistence matched his abundant Italian charm. “There will be a sequel,” he assured the guests. And, of course, there was. 

It took nearly another year, but Dorothy said yes and the couple married on April 7, 2006.

They now share a two-bedroom, two-bath home with a den, a screened porch, a large storage room off the foyer, and a beautiful view. 

Married bliss

The Paparellis are among the community’s most spirited residents, playing bridge, dining with neighbors, and attending nearly all of Devonshire’s entertainment programs, meetings, and special events.

Dorothy, who danced professionally as a child, still struts her stuff by tap dancing at the Devonshire Chorus’s annual holiday concert. 

“We like people, and we like to be busy,” she says. “Living at Devonshire adds at least five years to your life.” 

Residents do enjoy an exhilarating and healthy lifestyle enhanced by interesting neighbors, five-star cuisine, creative activities, and a family-like environment. Devonshire’s large, luxurious apartment homes are icing on the cake.

Although it’s true that, as Joe often says, “I moved here because Dorothy was here,” he’s one of Devonshire’s most enthusiastic boosters, and he and Dorothy are much sought-after dinner partners. 

Above all, they value the strong friendships they’ve forged with neighbors and staff alike. 

“There’s not one person here I don’t like,” Dorothy says.

Joe eats with the same group of friends every morning at Devonshire’s complimentary continental breakfasts. And he arrives early to set the table for them. 

But before he leaves home, he makes coffee and sets out fruit and cereal so Dorothy can enjoy a leisurely breakfast while she reads the morning paper.

He dotes on her, and she glows when they’re together. Life is sweet.