The year was 1945. Many things were going on in the world, it marked the end of World War II and the fall of Nazi Germany. It is also the only year in which nuclear weapons have been used in combat. Most importantly, it was the year that Jane Heller, David Richards, and Peg Bammann began their friendship at Denison University. Peg and Jane were in different sororities but were still friendly with each other, in fact as Jane commented, “I thought Peg was so cool.”. At the same time, their future husbands, Dave Richards, Jack Heller, and Glenn Bammann were all friends, particularly after Jack and Glenn came back to Denison after serving in the Navy. Coincidentally they all met their spouses around the same time, and discovered, to their delight, that they all knew each other. Reflecting on those years at Denison, Jane said, “there is something about Denison that can illicit that type of friendship which lasts a lifetime.” A lifetime, and then some. After doing some Math, they all concluded that it has been 76 years since they first met at Denison. Many life events occurred over the next seven decades, yet the couples ended up finding their way back to each other, in a way that they never would have expected back in 1945.
Peg Bammann at Denison University
Jane Heller at Dension University
After college, the three couples did go their separate ways, each couple moving to a different place, with only the Richards staying in Granville for the longest amount of time. They all stayed in touch over the years, with Dave recalling a very fond memory of Jack and Jane coming over to his house to meet his son, David, and Jack crawled in the play pen with him. The term “responsibly wild” came up when asked about some of the activities they would get involved in during their early family years.
Jack Heller (center) and Dave Richards (far right) at Jack and Jane's wedding
Fast forward a few decades and the Richards and the Hellers found themselves in situations that required them to find care for aging parents. For those who are not aware of Kendal at Granville’s history, it was due to four very special people, who had an idea to start a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Granville, that Kendal at Granville exists today. Jack and Jane Heller, and Dave and Dee Richards had gone to visit Dave’s sister at Kendal at Oberlin, and on their drive home on a wintry day, they had the thought that they should start a community in Granville. That conversation inspired other conversations with investors and community leaders, and a long and hard-fought battle, which resulted in Kendal at Granville finally opening its doors in 2005. Both Jane and Dave agree the reason they wanted a place like Kendal to exist is because they did not want to burden their children with their care as they aged. For those of us who call Kendal home, either through employment or residency, we can all agree that we are very grateful for the intuition and foresight that went into that discussion on the drive home.
Peg had kept in touch with Jack and Jane over the years, and when she saw the Hellers and the Richards during the time that Kendal was opening, she remembered they were always wearing buttons that stated “Ask me about Kendal,” so without her husband’s knowledge, she signed up to come and visit. The day they came to visit the community, they walked through the front door, and coincidentally the Hellers and the Richards were there viewing the progress. Peg remembers very fondly feeling, “now I’m home.”
Jane and Peg now live next door to each other. They can often be seen on each other’s front porches as the day winds down, and Jane said she even knocks on the wall every now and then to see if she can get a response from Peg. Dave lives around the corner, on Founder’s Lane, but is often invited over. They even shared their Thanksgiving meal together this year. When asked what their friendship has meant to her over the years, Peg and Jane both agreed that “we just love each other. We have very similar morals and values and enjoy each other’s company.” When asked Dave commented, ‘it has been my whole life.” Most of us could only be so blessed to be able to live next door to our friend of 76 years, and Jane, Peg, and Dave couldn’t agree more.
From left to right: Jane Heller, Dave Richards, Peg Bammann