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‘Great place to live’

Phil Spencer chose value and amenity-rich lifestyle at Maris Grove

Created date

January 12th, 2017
Resident Phil Spencer points out Maris Grove on a much smaller copy of a map he made of historic places in Delaware County, Pa.

Resident Phil Spencer points out Maris Grove on a much smaller copy of a map he made of historic places in Delaware County, Pa.

A number of years ago, a relative of Phil Spencer, who lived in Maryland, told him about John Erickson’s proposals for his first retirement communities. “This guy has a really interesting program,” the relative said.

So when Maris Grove in Delaware County, Pa., was proposed in 2005 but not yet under construction, Phil joined its priority list to reserve his place in line for an apartment home there.

“I liked the model,” he says. “No one else offered refunds on their deposit fees.” At other retirement communities, after a period of time people get no money back if they move. 

At Maris Grove, whether residents move someplace else or live out their lives at the community, 90% of their entrance fee is refunded to them or to their estate (all the details are in the Residence and Care Agreement).

In 2012, when Phil was a widower and had tired of doing his own cooking, he moved to Maris Grove. His one-bedroom, one-bath apartment home suits his lifestyle.

Phil plays bridge, bocce, and billiards; sings in Maris Grove’s chorus; and travels to his previous Media neighborhood to sing in a church choir there. 

He also belongs to Maris Grove’s Italian-American club. “The members were so friendly that I decided to join,” he says.

Picture perfect

Phil’s love is painting. A watercolorist, nearly every painting in his apartment is one he did himself. As he says: “Everything that’s colorful is mine.”

A plein air painter of area houses and churches, art is in Phil’s genes. His sister, who teaches art, suggested many years ago that they take an oil painting class together. Phil changed to watercolor when he discovered how much easier it is.

When he discovered colored pencils in England that gave the effect of watercolor, he made quick sketches during travels there and in Switzerland. 

In 1976, Phil undertook a special project during America’s bicentennial celebration. After contacting Delaware County townships for brochures of their historic places, he drew a huge map of the county, painted in 100 historic houses, and added more recent buildings such as Penn State University. 

Phil likes Maris Grove’s maintenance-free living, his neighbors, and the Signature Dining program. Because everything is cooked to order, his meals arrive just the way he wants them.

“There’s a reason why close to 700 households are on Maris Grove’s priority list,” he says. “It’s a great place to live, and people recognize it’s a great value.”