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In good company at Linden Ponds

Jim Petee lives a life of service (and travel, too)

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February 17th, 2016
Linden Ponds resident Jim Petee
Linden Ponds resident Jim Petee

“I am a strong believer in volunteerism—citizens are at their best when they are volunteering.” That is what Jim Petee says, and he has found the ideal environment to put his value of volunteerism into action. 

Jim lives at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass., where he has all kinds of rewarding opportunities to volunteer.

Last year, Jim was elected to the Linden Ponds Resident Advisory Council (RAC), a committee that serves as a liaison between residents and management. RAC members are elected by their neighbors, and spots on the important committee are coveted. 

In his campaign, Jim promised innovative thinking, energy, knowledge, and experiences. He has lived in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) for almost 20 years; he lived at a different CCRC with his late wife before moving to Linden Ponds in 2008.

“Continuing care retirement communities are a whole new style of life, and we all [want] to make it better,” Jim says. “I hope the RAC will strengthen the team spirit of management and residents working together.”

Volunteering as a way of life

Jim has found several other opportunities to volunteer at Linden Ponds. He chairs a committee called Community Partnerships, which works with local businesses to offer discounts to residents. 

He is also a past chair and current member of the Environmental Committee, which works on building Linden Ponds’ recycling program and collaborating with management to save electricity by switching to LED lightbulbs. 

He previously chaired a discussion group for residents with low hearing, and he currently works on both the Staff Appreciation Fund and the Student Scholarship Fund, which awards college scholarships to the high school students who work in Linden Ponds’ on-site restaurants. 

“I love all of that work, and I am very active in it,” Jim says. “I usually have four or five meetings a week.”

Jim is also an active member of Linden Ponds’ in-house TV channel crew. He previously chaired the 65-member crew committee, and he now hosts the morning news show twice a month. 

He says one of the things he most enjoys about working on the TV crew is the collaboration between staff and residents.

“I never did anything like that before; I learned it all here,” Jim says of his work in the TV studio. “We cover all of the news and activities happening on campus and give updates from management, so people really know what is going on.”

87 years young

Most people meeting Jim would be shocked to learn he is 87 years old. His appearance and energy are that of someone decades younger. Jim says he has been blessed with good health, but his zest for life probably helps him stay youthful as well. 

He recently joined the online dating website match.com and jokes that he has been dating a “younger woman” who is 82. 

Jim enjoys traveling and has visited Europe, China, and Japan. Last year, he went on a two-week safari in Tanzania. He says it was an amazing experience that let him get up close and personal with lions, zebras, and other wildlife. 

“We would eat outside at beautiful tables with great food, and about 50 feet away are jackals,” Jim recalls. “At night, there might be an elephant right outside your tent.”

As for future travels, Jim says the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Australia, and Cuba are on his list of places to visit. Jim has five children, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, so he also travels around the United States to visit family in places like Denver, Dallas, and North Carolina.

In his downtime, Jim enjoys restoring classic cars. He once owned a 1960 Rolls Royce and is currently working on a 1930 Ford Model A.

“It had a lot of work done on its shock system, but the body was a total disaster,” Jim says. “The entire body has to be refinished, and it needs a new interior, so I do a lot of research on where to buy parts.”

Jim, who is a retired marketing executive and also worked for a time as a real estate broker, is a natural people person. Living at Linden Ponds has made it easy for him to connect with likeminded peers who share his interests and to develop strong and lasting friendships.

“The beauty of CCRCs like Linden Ponds is that there are a number of very well-educated people living there,” he says. “Older people who live in a [traditional] neighborhood with maybe one, two, or three other older people—they don’t know what they’re missing.”

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