Posted by Waverly Heights on 02/03/2016

A Fine Life at Waverly Heights

A Fine Life at Waverly Heights

It is often said that a fine wine improves with age. These subtle spirits become richer, fuller and more distinctive with every passing year. The same can be said for some exceptional individuals, including David and Jane Acton.


Collectors and connoisseurs, David and Jane know fine wine, and they are living a fine life. The Actons are residents of Waverly Heights, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Gladwyne, Pa. Both active and engaged in their retirement community and the larger community, David and Jane are making the most of every year—and every day.


A native of the Philadelphia area, David has only spent a few years of his life outside the region. He attended Yale University for his undergraduate degree. After graduating, he spent two years serving in the U.S. Navy. His assignments ranged from working in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean to the warm seas of the Caribbean.


“Of course, working in the Caribbean was a little more pleasant, but overall it was also an opportunity to develop leadership skills at a relatively young age by being placed in charge of groups of men, while at the same time doing important work for our country,” David recalled.


After leaving the Navy, David was accepted at Penn Law and was later hired by a firm to practice admiralty law, an area of law focused on maritime activities. David handled diverse cases including personal injury, cargo damage and collision. His wide-ranging career also included positions as General Counsel for Leeds and Northrup Company and K.S. Sweet Associates, a real estate development firm.


The latter position opened the door for him to become the general manager at Hershey’s Mill, an active adult community built around a golf course in Chester County. David oversaw the construction of the first 400 houses and the golf club.


Later, David returned to the law and became a full-time arbitrator and mediator, handling both commercial and construction cases. He still maintains that practice out of an office in Haverford and has no plans to retire.


“This is very interesting and satisfying work, especially mediation,” he said. “I tell people that mediation is 85 percent psychology and 15 percent law. It is so rewarding when people tell you that they have been working with their own attorneys to settle a case for months, and we manage to settle it in one day through mediation.”


Beyond his professional career, David has many interests and hobbies. He serves on the Board of the American Revolution Museum that is being built in Philadelphia. He also served as Secretary of his Yale class for 15 years, and previously served on the Boards of the Chilton Company and the Merion Cricket Club. However, his primary interest has always been wine. David is a wine consultant, as well as a member of the Chevaliers du Tastevin, a Burgundy food and wine society. In fact, one of the more pleasant tasks the Actons had to take on as they prepared to move and downsize was pairing down David’s extensive wine collection by sharing bottles with family and friends and storing wine in multiple locations.


While Jane also enjoys good wines, her primary interest has always been dancing. She started dancing at an early age at the Peabody Institute and is proficient in both ballet and modern dance. A native of Baltimore, Jane attended Roland Park Country Day School and Wilson College.


After graduation, Jane became a jewelry buyer at Hutzler Brothers department store. “I was fortune to work in one of the finest stores in Baltimore,” Jane recalled. “I went through their training program, and then I became a jewelry buyer and went on buying trips to New York City. The merchants would wine and dine me, and it was very exciting.”


When Jane’s first husband was transferred to Philadelphia for work, the family relocated and Jane has been in the area ever since. After her first husband passed away, she met David.


David and Jane were married in 1978 and merged their two families, including five children. The couple now has eight grandchildren, six of whom live locally. The couple started thinking about retirement living options more than 15 years ago, when they placed their names on the waiting lists at several local communities, including Waverly Heights.


“We kept putting off the decision because we are both in good health,” David recalled. “We finally decided we wanted to move while we were still in good health and could enjoy all that this community has to offer.”


Jane added, “I was thinking about moving for some time. My mother had some health challenges, and I wanted to be prepared and have the security of care available if I should ever need it.”


While they moved primarily for the peace of mind that guaranteed care for life provides, the Actons have really enjoyed the vibrant lifestyle and picturesque campus at Waverly Heights. “The grounds are large and beautifully maintained. There are lots of activities, and the people are so nice and welcoming,” said Jane. David concurred, “I always say that Waverly Heights has exceeded our expectations in all respects. Its excellent management team makes the place run like a welloiled machine.”


While still very active professionally and socially outside of the community, the Actons have also become an integral part of Waverly Heights. Jane is the head of the community’s welcoming committee, which helps new residents quickly meet people and acclimate to their new home. She also enjoys walking around the gorgeous campus and pursuing her lifelong passion for dance with on-campus line dancing classes. Finally, she applies her retail skills as a volunteer at the thrift shop, Windfall. The proceeds from Windfall go directly to the Resident’s Association to fund activities.


When he’s not practicing law, David is involved in Waverly Height’s lecture committee; wine committee; and a popular program called coffee and conversation, during which residents take turns introducing and leading discussion on interesting topics. He also swims in the indoor pool every night.


“We are so busy, but in a very pleasant way. Our number one challenge really is finding time for it all,” David said.


David and Jane are busy taking advantage of all the community has to offer, but they both emphasized that the people are ultimately what makes Waverly Heights stand out. “The facilities are great, and the programs are wonderful, but the number one thing that makes living here enjoyable is the people— the residents and the staff,” explained David.


It is true that people are what make a community special, and David and Jane Acton are among the many remarkable residents who make Waverly Heights a great place to live. Now part of such a vibrant community, David and Jane are certainly enjoying a fine life.


By Christy Brudin

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