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Real people, real lives

Lore Parker continues her full life at Devonshire

Created date

December 31st, 2015
Devonshire’s Lore Parker displays one of the many ads she wrote.
Devonshire’s Lore Parker

The most interesting stories spring from the lives of real people, and some of the most interesting people live at Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens.

For example, Lore Parker. For 30 years, Lore worked at Doyle Dane Berbach (DDB), the Manhattan ad agency that served as the model for the award-winning TV series Mad Men.

As a copywriter, Lore told stories in just a few words and perhaps an illustration. But her love of words and her desire to write didn’t begin there. They started decades earlier.

Shaped by early life events

Lore grew up in Leipzig, Germany, a cultural city far from her home now at Devonshire.

“I always wrote poetry and stories as a little girl because my father did the same thing,” she says. “I adored my father, and I saw how his writing pleased everybody.”

At birthday parties, the neighborhood children came to hear her father’s stories. “They sat around on the carpet and it was heaven,” says Lore. “I was so proud of him! He enjoyed doing it, and I wanted to be like him.” 

Hers was an idyllic childhood. But things changed when the Nazis came to power. At age 13, Lore was evacuated to England as a German-Jewish refugee child. 

She lived with three schoolteachers and learned English from them. Lore also kept a journal of those years. 

Her parents and brother made their way to England, too. World War II broke out just after her father arrived, and he was interned because the government couldn’t tell who was a spy and who was a refugee. 

Lore’s father used that time well: He wrote his autobiography. He died when Lore was just 15. “It was the worst day of my life,” she says.

After she graduated from high school, Lore moved to London and lived with her mother and brother in a roof-top apartment near the airport where the bombing was fierce. It was a meager existence.

With no money for college, Lore went to work. Required to get a job that helped the war effort, she took a secretarial position with the BBC. 

Lore did secretarial work in the arts programming department where she came in contact with Jewish actors and singers who’d escaped from Germany and were guests on BBC programs.

Later she was transferred to the BBC’s German prisoners program in which German prisoners disillusioned with Hitler agreed to have their stories told on air to counter Nazi propaganda. 

“I took down what they said in German,” Lore says, “and I felt I was doing something for the war.”

Opportunity in the Big Apple

When the war ended, Lore left London for the lights of New York City and her uncle’s home. 

She took a secretarial job but longed to become a copywriter at DDB. “So I wrote and asked for an interview and said, ‘if I don’t get it, I’ll throw myself off the 3rd Ave. el,’” says Lore.   

She got the interview, and she got the job. It was creative, challenging, and she loved every minute of it.

When Lore and her husband George eventually retired, they moved to Florida. Then when Lore gave up cooking, they moved again, to a spacious upper-floor apartment and five-star cuisine at Devonshire.

Almost immediately, Lore started Devonshire’s memoir-writing group and penned 58 of her own stories before passing the torch to someone else.

When she attends now, she rereads those stories to a new audience.

For all of Devonshire’s amenities, what makes it special are the people, says Lore: “The community members and staff are the best. There’s such warmth here.”