Michigan family and friends are brighter than Florida sunshine

Photo courtesy of Oakwood Common Virginia Koehler enjoys the scenic view from her balcony apartment at Oakwood Common.

Photo courtesy of Oakwood Common
Virginia Koehler enjoys the scenic view from her balcony apartment at Oakwood Common.

DEARBORN – What will cause a Florida resident of 32 years to move back to Michigan? Virginia Koehler, a new resident of Oakwood Common, a Beaumont senior living community, will quickly tell you it is not Michigan winters.

She will also tell you it also wasn’t a quick decision.
More than 60 years ago, Koehler, a Missouri native, and her husband Ken, originally from Nebraska, bought a home in Allen Park when he began working for Ford Motor Co. It is the community where they raised two daughters. Thirty years later, retirement and a home in New Port Richey took the couple to Florida.

Seven years ago both considered moving back to Michigan to be closer to their daughters, but it wasn’t until after Ken’s passing three years ago that Virginia gave it serious consideration.

“I toured several retirement communities and told my daughters I would move next fall,” said Koehler. “They reminded me that I hated Michigan winters so why not move in the spring.”

She selected Oakwood Common, where many of her longtime friends from Allen Park Presbyterian now live. It is the church she and her husband attended when they lived in Michigan.

According to Donna Brandt, sales manager for Oakwood Common, Koehler’s spring move was good timing. “It allowed her to take advantage of our community’s spring move-in special,” said Brandt. “It covered her moving expenses from Florida to Michigan.”

Although Koehler is not fond of Michigan winters, she likes her third floor balcony apartment and view of the wetlands and wildlife, which provide interesting scenery for her favorite pastime of oil painting, a hobby she took up at the age of 60.

Currently settled in her apartment for less than a month, Koehler’s oil paintings already hang on the walls of her new home. They include scenes from travels she and her husband took to countries around the world.

Though she’ll miss the warmth of Florida, Koehler admitted she is not worried about being cold or going out in the snow in her new community.

She said, “I have a beautiful view that will provide nice scenes for painting year round.”