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The Parkhouses know the Perley Rideau is the gold standard of care

For over two years, I visited my wife every day. During those visits, I got to know so many of the staff who work here. More importantly, they got to know my precious Jean by listening, paying attention and never failing to treat her with dignity and compassion during her journey with Alzheimer’s.

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Many of the same people who cared for Jean now care for me. Seeing first-hand the exceptional level of care provided to Jean and now me is one of the many reasons why my family and I have been regular donors to the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre since 2006.

After reading a little more about my life story and the high regard my family and I have for Perley Rideau, I hope you will consider donating to support outstanding care for Seniors and Veterans like me.

After I suffered a broken hip in 2019, my family and I decided that the extraordinary level of care at Perley Rideau was what I needed. As my daughter Anne said at the time,

"Dad, we know that Perley Rideau is the gold standard of care and what you deserve after a lifetime of service to Canada, your church, and your family."

For Anne, Perley Rideau was the only choice.

While, like many, I struggled with the idea of leaving my home, I have found a new home in a caring community. When my children, Anne and John, and grandchildren Patrick and Michael visit, they sense the warmth and compassion here.

My daughter Anne always smiles when she looks at my colourful paintings of birds that hang in my room, expressing surprise and delight that the Creative Arts program at Perley Rideau has brought out the artist in me.

Without donors like you, many of the programs we all enjoy would simply not be what they are.

But what of my life before coming to Perley Rideau? Well, there has been quite a bit of it, considering that I was born almost a century ago in Pembroke and grew up in a small central Ontario town called Fergus.

My father was a United Church Minister, and I would follow in his footsteps in my late 20s. As a curious and adventurous boy in Fergus, I learned to love the outdoors. I always enjoyed chopping wood on my 90-acre woodlot or camping trips with Jean and the kids. When Anne and I go for walks now at Perley Rideau, I love to spend time at the Duck Pond. 

Before serving God, I served Canada by enlisting in the Royal Canadian Airforce at 19 in 1942. During the Second World War, I served as an Air Navigator, flying missions from England and North Africa over Europe and Italy in a Wellington bomber. Those war years, profoundly impacted the path I would follow in my personal and professional lives.

Upon returning to Canada, I pursued my post-secondary studies, and was ordained in 1951. My time at school opened my eyes to many things and opened my heart to a lovely young woman named Jean Brandon, who had served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.  We met over a Bridge table and were married in 1948. I won’t say who won that first night, but I will say that Jean was a terrific Bridge player. We played thousands of games over the 62 years we were married.

When I re-enlisted in the RCAF in 1953, Jean and I began a three-decade journey that would eventually take our family across Canada, Germany, and France.

When I retired in 1981, I had the rank of Brigadier-General and was Chaplain General. I take great pride in the time I spent serving in Canada and appreciate that Perley Rideau honours and celebrates contributions of Veterans. When I go for walks with Anne, we pass by pictures in the hall of the Wellington bomber, the plane that my brothers in arms and I flew together almost 80 years ago.

Although I left the military, I continued to work as a Minister in churches across Ontario, including Kilbride, Bobcaygeon and Ottawa.  As a Minister, I served people in good and difficult circumstances in times of grief and celebration. I baptized more babies than I can remember. As it turns out, one of those babies has grown up and now works at Perley Rideau, where he has cared for both Jean and me.

It’s a curious but true story.

My daughter has long poked fun at me for always asking people where they are from, I’ve always also considered that question a great ice-breaker when you meet so many new people as ministers and military Chaplains do.

During one of my daily visits with Jean, the answer that came back to me was, “I was born in Peterborough and baptized in Comox, BC.” When he told me his last name, I paused and said, “I baptized you.” Of course, he was skeptical, but when a check of his baptismal certificate showed my name and signature at the bottom, he was convinced of our surprise connection.

I still find it hard to believe that a baby I held and baptized over 50 years ago came to care for my wife and me many years later. To this day, Ted and I share a knowing nod and smile when we cross paths at Perley Rideau.

My daughter Anne and my son John suggested I write this letter to you today and I have asked her to sign this letter with me. I lived with Anne, Kevin and their boys for several years after Jean passed away until I moved to Perley Rideau.

Like me, Anne has spent a lot of time here and met many staff and volunteers. Between them, they come here six times a week to see me and chat with staff, many of whom feel like family. Our walks together take us past walls covered in residents’ artwork, through hallways filled with natural light and weather allowing, outside to the beautiful grounds.

Anne often talks to me about the wonderful people who work at Perley Rideau, calling them the secret ingredient in what makes the care and quality of life what it is.  Anne, John and I also know that it is generous donors like you who help elevate the care to the high level all of us benefit from.

When someone asked Anne recently what made the people and care here so unique, she said, it’s just as simple as everyone taking the time to listen to each person, learn their stories and truly understand their wants and needs.

When I asked Anne and John what else she would put in the letter, they mentioned the many positive changes they have seen at Perley Rideau over the past few years like the Duck Pond we sit beside together to the renovated dining rooms where we share meals. 

As a supporter of Perley Rideau, you should take pride in the many positive changes that have happened here because your generosity has helped make them possible.

As someone who has lived long enough to see all manner of challenges and difficulties, I know that this past year and a half have been tough for many. During these many months where human contact has been restricted, it has often been the generosity, kind words and deeds of donors like you that have buoyed the spirits of staff and residents.

While we seem, thankfully, to be turning the corner and putting the worst of COVID-19 behind us, there is still an urgent need for people like you to support Perley Rideau.

Will you consider making a donation today and continue your support of Perley Rideau? You will be helping Perley Rideau maintain its exceptional level of care, provide comfort to residents and peace of mind to families.

Thank you for reading our letter and for your past support of Perley Rideau. We hope you can find it in your heart to support this home that will forever have a place in our hearts and the hearts of many families.

Sincerely,

Stanley M. Parkhouse, Brig.-Gen (Ret'd), Chaplain General, Resident and Proud Donor

Anne-Mulholland, loving daughter of Stanley and Jean Parkhouse, Proud Donor

John Parkhouse, loving son of Stanley and Jean Parkhouse, Proud Donor

PS: 2021 marks ten years since we lost our Jean. While we miss her, we are also thankful for the comfort and care that Perley Rideau provided to her. Your donation today, will help to support the kind of care that has meant so much to us and so many others. May God bless you and your family.

Click here to support exceptional care for residents like Stanley Parkhouse