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All in the family

Sisters move to Devonshire within two years of each other

Created date

August 4th, 2016
Rosemary Lambros (left) and Mae Mackay are sisters and both are residents of Devonshire.

Rosemary Lambros (left) and Mae Mackay are sisters and both are residents of Devonshire.

Although Rosemary Lambros and Mae Mackay are sisters, they’re very different people.

But Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, suits them both. They wouldn’t live anywhere else. 

Before the first brick was laid at Devonshire, Rosemary and her late husband George accompanied friends to a presentation about it. “And we all four signed up,” she says. 

Its plans of a central clubhouse connected internally to three residence buildings, its five clubhouse restaurants, and its 30-plus apartment styles sounded wonderful.

Still, because the Lambroses didn’t expect to move from their home in Jupiter for several years, they continued researching retirement communities throughout Florida. 

Devonshire always offered more. Rosemary, enamored of art, opera, and theater, valued Devonshire’s location near Maltz Theater and Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Its proximity to upscale shopping in West Palm Beach was another plus. 

Devonshire was also unique in offering duplicate bridge, which Rosemary still plays four times a week. “That was very important to me,” she says. 

So, in 2002, when Mae decided to move from her home in Bent Tree in Palm Beach Gardens and asked her sister’s advice, Rosemary, whose own move occurred two years later, recommended Devonshire. 

After scheduling an appointment with the sales office, Mae came to Devonshire to tour apartment styles. 

Love at first sight

It was a short tour because she fell in love with the first apartment she was shown, a lovely one-bedroom Ashton floor plan with a balcony overlooking a large and beautiful courtyard. 

For an outdoor person like Mae, the home was perfect; fresh air, sunshine, and an exquisite view would be hers each time she opened her patio door.

Mae took the apartment, moved in, and has never spent an unhappy day.

Even her home’s location at the end of a hallway suits Mae’s lifestyle: It provides a short warm-up walk to the elevator and her 9:15 a.m. fitness class in the clubhouse. 

“I love all the exercise opportunities and activities programs,” Mae says. She attends the entertainment programming, treasures the movie theater, and plays social bridge. And Mae is going to love the upgrades being started this summer as part of phase two of the clubhouse renovations.

And she’s devoted to Devonshire’s elegant and impressively stocked library. 

Kindness is Mae’s defining quality. For example, she makes a point of inviting new Devonshire members to dine with her at clubhouse restaurants. It helps ease their transition to the community and lets them share some of their pre-Devonshire experiences. 

Mae’s own experiences include working at a Madison Avenue ad agency, teaching swimming and diving, and venturing to Europe on her own to hike in Switzerland and to bicycle through southwestern France, Germany, and Austria. 

She’s also traveled to China, and she saw much of the globe during a four-month world cruise.

But Mae has a domestic side, too.

Although Devonshire’s apartments come equipped with the latest trends in kitchen design, Mae is one of the few residents who cook. She prepares simple meals for herself but bakes cookies and muffins as thank-you gifts for her neighbors. 

Therein lies a difference between her and Rosemary. During their childhoods on Long Island, when Mae was in the kitchen learning to bake, Rosemary was in the backyard watching planes fly back to Mitchel Field.

“My childhood ambition was to be an aviatrix,” Rosemary says. 

Aiming to join the WASPs, the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII, she went to flight school and earned her pilot’s license. Unfortunately, by the time she was old enough for the WASPs, they’d been disbanded.

Rosemary did marry a pilot, however. George owned a seaplane business in New Jersey and also flew and photographed for Life magazine. 

While Rosemary never flew professionally, she did fly her husband’s planes. “My happiest moments were when I was up in the clouds by myself in a small airplane,” she says.

Also an accomplished artist, Rosemary painted the subjects, especially animals, that she photographed during the Lambroses’ travels. 

She’s lived her life with gusto. When opportunities presented themselves, she grabbed them. When she heard about openings to teach classes on cruise ships, Rosemary applied, bluffed her way through an interview, then acquired the skills she needed. 

Her first class, teaching decoupage, led to a 20-year career teaching art on winter cruises. 

Life at Devonshire

Because Devonshire is a life care community, its members have priority access to care at Chatsworth, Devonshire’s rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood.

After Rosemary fell on the tennis court and had knee replacement surgery ten years ago, she did inpatient rehabilitation at Chatsworth. 

“The care was wonderful, and the therapists were incredible,” she says. “I was dancing less than two weeks after the surgery.”

More recently, she broke her femur, necessitating a stay at Chatsworth. Once again, she received care that has earned Chatsworth a five-star rating for its services.

“Thank God I live at Devonshire,” Rosemary says.

Mae has never needed Chatsworth, but she has used Devonshire’s on-site, outpatient therapy department. The twice-a-week, therapist-prescribed exercises she does at home for her arthritis have given her tremendous relief. 

“I feel so lucky to live here,” says Mae. “It’s a fabulous place to be.”