Friends of Kirkwood Series: Heidi Elnora Baker

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date July 23, 2020

Over the last 40 years, Kirkwood has had so many wonderful people do generous things to serve and advance our community. The past few months, especially, people have wrapped their arms around us and shown their love through various donations, gifts, and other acts of service. We want to begin this series to spotlight and thank these people who have stepped up and gone out of their way to serve our staff and residents because we are so thankful.

Our first Friend of Kirkwood Spotlight is the Grandaughter-in-law of one of our wonderful Hugh Gross – Heidi Elnora Baker! She is an incredible wedding gown designer here in Birmingham, Alabama! Her beautiful brick and mortar, Heidi Elnora Atelier, is on Morris Ave downtown. Heidi graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design and upon graduating was selected for the second season of Project Runway. She is an entrepreneur and very dedicated to giving back to her community, which we are so thankful for! At the beginning of the pandemic, she and her team began to sow tens of thousands of masks for people all around the country!

Hugh Gross is Heidi’s Grandfather-in-law and with him in mind, she generously sowed and donated masks for our community and we are so thankful! Keep sharing your sunshine with the world, Heidi! The Lord is using your servant-heart to bless the lives of so many, including the Kirkwood Family.


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents