Senior community brings Indiana native home

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Linda Kerr of Jasper watches for the moving truck Wednesday outside her new townhome at Legacy Living Jasper. 


JASPER — New Jersey. Kentucky. Texas. North Carolina.

Linda Kerr wandered across the country while working for IBM. Ambitious and bubbly, she climbed from a secretary to a software developer at the company by sneaking into a branch office on weekends to teach herself the trade.

She later rose to a management position and finished her career as a corporate staffer. Along the way, the list of places the 79-year-old Greencastle native lived with her late husband could dot a map.

She never had an address in Jasper. But after walking into her new townhome at Legacy Living of Jasper, Kerr was struck with a familiar feeling.

“We left Indiana in the 70s,” she said while inside. “And I just feel like I’m finally home again.”

Linda Kerr of Jasper, center right, laughs with her daughter, Lisa Kincer of Jasper, and Legacy Living Executive Director Theresa Wolf as movers begin to bring her belongings into her new townhome at Legacy Living Jasper.

Wednesday afternoon, she became the first resident to move into the newly developed senior living community, which is located on State Road 56 near Shiloh United Methodist Church.

Work on the site’s 18 independent-living spaces is complete, and the 70 assisted-living spaces and 25 memory-care units it will eventually offer are slated to be finalized in August. Construction began in July 2018 and has moved quickly.

“We have the bones, and now it’s putting everything else in,” explained Theresa Wolf, the local organization’s executive director.

Jasper’s population is aging, and Legacy will fill a need in the community. According to 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a little more than 16 percent of Jasper’s population is age 65 or older. Legacy Living Jasper will house anyone 55 or older.

Wolf explained that the development’s independent living quarters offer more than roofs over heads. A nurse will be available on-site 24 hours a day, and a list of amenities including a restaurant, movie theater, fitness center, salon, game room and chapel will soon be available on its campus.

Linda Kerr hugs her daughter, Lisa Kincer, both of Jasper after she arrives to help move her into her new townhome at Legacy Living Jasper. "I'm not sure who's more excited, me or her," Kerr said about moving closer to family.

Cultivating a sense of community is important to Wolf.

“It’s so much more than an apartment,” Wolf said of the independent-living spaces. “It’s a lifestyle. You’re living here with people, going through the same life stages as you are.”

Kerr most recently lived in a similar condominium neighborhood in Richmond, Kentucky. She came to Jasper to be near family. Her daughter, Lisa Kincer, lives in the city and is a third grade teacher at Ireland Elementary. Kerr also has a sister she plans to help take care of in Greencastle.

She has already met a few of her future neighbors at an open house event Legacy hosted in the fall, and she’s eager to make new friends. But even before the other residents arrive, Kerr will have the company of Josie, her lovable Pembroke Welsh corgi, who was always by her side on move-in day.

She would have moved to Southwestern Indiana years ago had Legacy been up and running.

“I just love Jasper,” Kerr said. “I’ve always liked Jasper. I’m always amazed at how clean and neat it is, and how friendly, and ... I’m just a small town girl at heart.”

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