One of the strongest and sweetest people we have had the great opportunity to know since we began working here in Florida passed away today. Virginia Banker and her husband Al were the VERY first customer we ever sold a house to. Just starting out in a new venture Virginia found us on the internet and allowed us to help her find a new home in Englewood. Virginia’s home needs were different than most. She and Al ran a small Adult Living Facility within their home. At any given time there might be 4 or even 5 older adults living with the Bankers. I wasn’t used to the idea when I moved here. It almost seemed strange to me that people with families would put their elderly folks in the care of someone else at their home.
But I remember stopping by the house in Englewood any number of times as I would be in the area showing property. Going in for a cup of coffee or maybe arriving at the house at “Ice Cream Time”. Honestly it really felt like a big family only with Al and Virginia and maybe one other person handling all the “chore” part of living. People were happy! I attended one “clients” birthday party, an open house, and just quick visits and the feeling was always one of folks being loved and cared for.
And the lot behind her house became available and Virginia and Al wanted to buy it and one of the people living with them wanted to help them with it. All of them were so excited to have the vegetable garden etc back there. Once again it was very much like a large family.
Maybe I’d stop by and Virginia was outside, taking a break. I remember her more than once telling me of first knowing a certain person was near the end and then she’d say last night she got no sleep as she held someone’s hand until they were gone. These people likely had families etc but it was left to Virginia to be the one who did that for them. She did so with grace and humility. The longer I knew them the more I thought folks were actually lucky then to be given the chance to spend their end years with Virginia and Al.
They were certainly not getting rich doing what they did. It put a roof over their head but that came with all the work involved in what it takes to feed and house people who no longer can do much for themselves. I remember too the new house had a new washer and dryer but of course Virginia had commercial level equipment so these would never do. At MY house the washer and dryer were getting up in years and I asked Virginia to sell me the ones in the new house. She would hear NONE of it. I was to TAKE them and she would not take a penny! And I actually did bring a trailer to her closing. They sit in my house today, 13 years later! A gift, just because I needed them!
I heard recently she had a bout with lung cancer and today I received a note from her daughter that she passed away after a week in Hospice. I’m sure her family surrounded her and let her know she was so loved. Just as she had for so many others in her life. She gave so many a peaceful end to their life’s journey with her strength and compassion. Thank you Virginia for being the person you were. Ann and I were so lucky to have had the chance to know you!