Three sisters have come together to honor their father's legacy, Wilford (Bill) Romney, for the important role he played in Episcopal Retirement Service’s (ERS) history. Mary Ellen Baude, Nicky Bade, and Emily Romney made a substantial gift to ERS to establish Romney House, an elegant, person-centered care household within the Marjorie P. Lee (MPL) community.
Bill’s involvement dates back to the 1950s when he joined the Memorial Homes Foundation board, which oversaw the Bishop Theodore Irving Reese Home in Clifton. When asked by friend and colleague Charles Lee, he readily agreed to help fulfill the dying wish of Charles’ beloved wife Marjorie P. Lee to “take care of my dear ladies.” Together, they traveled the country searching for best practices at retirement communities. Their journey brought them back to Cincinnati to create a loving community with quality services for the elderly. The Marjorie P. Lee community in Hyde Park, where Bill remained involved throughout his lifetime, opened in 1963.
The Romney House offers an intimate skilled nursing setting within elegant, upscale apartments. The studio and one-bedroom apartments are large and exceptional spaces not often found in long-term care settings. Residents of Romney House enjoy an apartment with high ceilings and large windows to let in the sunlight and enjoy the outdoor scenery.
Many Romney family members have called MPL home, including Bill’s mother-in-law and sister. In 1979, Bill moved into the Care Center at Marjorie P. Lee as he battled cancer, living there until he died in 1980.
Bill’s wife, Marnie, having moved in to be near him, lived there until she died in 1993. “My sisters and I often feel it was fate that he had given all these years to providing quality care for the elderly as a volunteer, and now he saw what it was like firsthand to receive some of that quality care,” says daughter Nicky.
Bill and Marnie’s three daughters have continued the family legacy of service to promoting compassionate, quality care for older adults.
Mary Ellen started volunteering at Marjorie P. Lee in 1988 and has been lending a hand there ever since.
Nicky began volunteering in the mid-1980s, first on the Marjorie P. Lee Advisory Board — a group of volunteers and residents who serve as liaisons to the corporate office — then establishing an auxiliary group at the home, which she led for four years. And for years, she has run the Corner Store, the community’s in-house shop for cards, gifts, snacks, and sundries.
Emily Romney pursued a career with her family in Boston and, along with her sisters, provided the generous donation that resulted in the Romney House’s dedication.