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Resident Spotlight: Bill Penn

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date March 12, 2021

This month, our resident spotlight is on our wonderful community member, Bill Penn! We so enjoyed getting to know him a little bit better and hope you do too!

Where are you from? I am from Birmingham, AL. For the first 10 years of my life, I was raised in my grandmother’s rooming and boarding house. Later, we moved to Pasadena, TX which is where I graduated from High School. I came back to Alabama after 25 years of serving in the US Air Force.

Tell us about your family. My wife and I were married for 72 years when she passed away. We have 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grand sons!

Tell us about your education and career. I graduated from Auburn with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, then went on to get my masters from Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering as well. Then later graduated with a Doctorate in Education from Nova University. My main career in my life was my 25 years in the US Air Force. I served as a bomber pilot in WWII. My last 15 years in the service I was an R&D officer. I was involved in the first supersonic bomber – then in Ballistic Missiles – then in space systems with the military’s first manned space program called the MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory). I retired from the USAF as a Lt. Col. in 1965. I later served as the General Manager of Carson Clamp and Fittings Co. in Tarrant, AL. Then I was an Instructor for 7 years at Jefferson State Community College. After that, I was a realtor in Birmingham and elected to Vice President of the Rotary Club of the Tarrant-Pinson Valley Rotary.

How long have you lived at Kirkwood? I have been at Kirkwood for 11 years and my favorite thing about this community is the caring staff and residents.

If you could sit down and have a meal with anyone in the world, present, past, or future, who would you choose? I would choose Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, or Rush Limbaugh.

Mr. Penn, thank you so much for sharing with us! We are so thankful to have you as apart of our Kirkwood family.

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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