Songbird Story Profile: The Teacher & the Engineer/Artist: Jane & Dave

A large oil painting of a serene mountain, woods and lake scene hangs prominently above the couch in Dave & Jane W's living room at Otterbein Granville. 

"It was my wedding gift from Dave," Jane shares proudly. And it is just one of dozens of Dave's paintings, sketches and portraits that hang in their new home that reflect their lives rich in creativity and purpose. Each cherished art piece that came from the couple's previous residence has helped to make their newly downsized space feel like home. 


Dave & Jane's life together started soon after Dave was transferred from Owens Corning's Toledo operations to the Kansas City area. There, he met Jane, a high school business teacher. After marrying, the couple moved back to Toledo, where they lived for 29 years before being transferred to Owens Corning in Granville.

The couple settled in Heath, and while Dave continued his career in engineering, Jane found new opportunities at Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark as the Director of Career Services for both institutions. In between their busy careers and raising a family, the couple took up various creative pursuits: Jane enjoyed embroidery and latch hook work for many years; meanwhile Dave became an accomplished and award-winning painter 

After more than 27 years in their Heath home, Dave & Jane decided to downsize from a large multi-story house with a large lot and steep driveway into a more manageable 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom senior living apartment at Otterbein Granville.

Their motivation was driven by multiple factors including concerns about safely navigating wet leaves and ice on the steep driveway.  "If you fall on the driveway and break a hip, then you're pretty much done," Jane shared. 

"We didn't want our kids to worry about us and have to take care of us," Jane continued. "We're going to take care of ourselves so that we're not their responsibility as we age." 

"Samantha from Songbird Transitions was here helping me declutter the kitchen, garage and basement. Once we decided to make the move to Otterbein, everything moved fast. She connected us to a realtor, then did all the staging and home sale prep needed to sell the house. While we were out of town at a wedding, Songbird painted a couple of rooms and cleaned up everything. The house sold more quickly than we thought and Songbird helped us to move to Otterbein. It all went fast." 


The couple have settled into their new community and have enjoyed socializing with other residents and sharing nightly dinners with neighbors. Their apartment is directly across the hall from Otterbein Granville's renowned art studio and maker space. Dave anxiously awaits having his own set of keys to the studio and to experiment with new media. After decades devoted to using oil paints, he's ready to branch out and try painting with acrylics and watercolors. Whatever he creates, we know it will be beautiful and make the couple's new space feel just like home. 


Moved from: 3,300 square foot, 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a large yard, woods & steep driveway

Moved to: 1,100 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bath senior living apartment

Number of years lived in previous home:  27 

What possessions were you happy to donate or get rid of?   

Jane: Three Sofas, plus the ping pong and pool table. We were also happy to give away the tools.  Dave made tool kits for two granddaughters and one for himself. 

What possessions were the hardest to part with?   

Jane: Nothing really. Everything that was sentimental we brought here, like the art and the communion cup from my grandfather, who was a Methodist "Circuit Rider" for small churches in rural Kansas traveling to 3 towns. 

What's been the best part so far of downsizing?

Dave: Peace of mind. 
Jane: We're not worried anymore. Plus, you have dinner every night with somebody different. Everyone here is nice. 

What advice or insights would you offer to others considering downsizing?

Dave: Don’t wait too long. I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer. 

Jane: Give yourself time to rest after the move. I overdid it!  I went to the pool, then chair yoga after moving and I was exhausted. And Hire Songbird!  We would have sunk and drowned without their help. We’re too old to be packing boxes! 

Songbird Transitions specializes in helping older adults downsize and move into senior living communities and smaller homes. Our goal is to make the transition into your new space as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you are in Central Ohio, contact us for a free consultation

If you live elsewhere in the country, consider Downsizing Done Right, our comprehensive toolkit that includes step-by-step downsizing videos, a resource book plus a Q&A session with Songbird.

For personalized downsizing consulting and coaching services, please book a Songbird Support session.

Read more Songbird Stories and downsizing resources from Songbird Transitions


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