This month we are excited to highlight resident, William F., at Oaks at Hampton!
William [Bill] was born on August 8, 1931, in the front bedroom of the family home in Woodsboro, Maryland. He was the last of five children. The firstborn, his brother, only lived a few hours and was buried at the cemetery in Woodsboro, where his grandparents were later buried in the years to follow.
Bill’s oldest sister, Mabel, was born in 1917; with the age difference between oldest and youngest, Mabel became a second mother to Bill and made him an uncle at the age of three.
According to his daughter, “I think my dad was a shy and lonely child. He was young when his grandparents left the farm and moved into the house. Grandma Mary was a woman “of letters” (meaning she could read), and it was said that she wore out twelve Bibles! Dad tells the story of his grandmother’s passing as a pleasant going-to-bed-and-never-waking, although they shared the same room.”
Bill’s memory of his grandfather includes walking to the garden in the back of the house, picking “Big Joes” – strawberries as big as your thumb! If you haven’t guessed it, Bill’s grandparents were farmers, and their son [Bill’s father] had city ways and got a job as a cheesemaker at the local dairy. The job moved the family from Woodsboro to the big town of Frederick, Maryland. Sealtest Dairy bought out the local dairy, and his father continued to work there as a mechanical engineer until he retired in 1964.
Bill graduated high school and the next year married his wife, who was a year behind him. Soon after, Uncle Sam came knocking, and Bill served in the U.S. Army and Army Corps of Engineers in the Korean conflict. His daughter shared, “I was born while dad was overseas and was 11 months old when we first met face-to-face. My brother arrived three years later.”
Bill worked as a carpenter building houses until 1958 when he took a position with the local power company. He was trained in auto mechanics and maintained anything on wheels that had an engine. Bill retired from PEPCO after 32 years of service.
Bill loved to travel – or should we say – drive. He and his family would camp all over the United States. The Rockies were a favorite destination, but really any mountain would do. His wife loved the seashore, so you can imagine the grumbling that occurred as he endured those trips! Bill and his wife separated in 1970, but he would continue to camp and drive with anyone in the family that would tag along.
Sometime in the 1960s, Bill bought mountain property near Charlestown, West Virginia, and started to build a cabin after he and his wife separated. In 1976, he fell three stories working on that cabin and almost died. Fortunately, his grandson was with him at the time and was able to find help. After 11 days, Bill was stable enough to transfer to a local hospital; after six months in the hospital, he was released and went to live with his daughter and her family for another year before he was well enough to return to work.
Bill was always active throughout his life and generous to others. In 2005, he moved to Blairsville, Georgia (again, his beloved mountains!) to be closer to family. He maintained his acre and all the properties around him. It was a common sight to see Bill on his tractor mowing along the sides of the street. If a tree needed to come down, he was your man.
While Bill always considered himself a hermit, the man can talk! In 2016, he came to live at the Oaks, and what a blessing it has been.
His daughter shared, “I know that he is safe and cared for, and the community here is supportive even though he doesn’t know [everyone]!”
We are so thankful to have Bill as part of our family, and we thank him and his family for sharing his story!