Senior Living: A Community Legacy
Not many people can say they have had experiences quite like Charles (Charlie) Allebach, but it is also rare to find individuals as devoted to their community. As a former mayor of Souderton, Pa., Charlie was not only active with many organizations, but he would also perform up to 150 marriage ceremonies a year. Now residing at
Souderton Mennonite Homes, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, he remains proud of his hometown and all that he has accomplished.
“I’ve had a very meaningful life. It wasn’t for everybody, but I certainly enjoyed it,” he said.
Born and raised in Souderton, Charlie only left the area for three years during World War II. It was in 1970 when his wife passed away and Charlie, a systems analyst, was approached by an acquaintance about training to become a banker. Although he did not find success on this path, he actually realized his true calling was in community service when the bank formed a Community Relations Department. These experiences eventually led him to become mayor.
“There I found my niche,” he said. “That community became my whole life and I got to know more people in the whole wide area and beyond.”
There is no question Charlie came to know a great deal of people as mayor given his affiliations in an extensive list of organizations, which includes serving on Boards for the Indian Valley Library, Senior Center, North Penn Valley Boys & Girls Club and the Indian Valley Housing Corporation, through which he looked over the housing, food and clothing needs of the less fortunate. He also played a large role in the community officiating weddings over the years, starting in 1979. During his tenure as mayor, he had performed 2,400 ceremonies.
Despite never campaigning, Charlie said he spent a total of 42 years in the elected office of Souderton. And when it came time to make the move to a retirement community, he knew it had to be to one with a long-standing reputation in the area.
“My grandfather was a Mennonite, and everyone knows about Souderton Mennonite Homes,” said Charlie. “I felt that this had been a community staple for years, and if I was going to move, this was it.”
Moving to his ideal community did not come so easily, however, as Souderton Mennonite Homes is located just across the Borough Line, which meant Charlie had to resign as mayor. Although it was a significant change for him, he has truly enjoyed life at the community for the past three years.
“I tell people that it only took me a day and a half to feel perfectly at home,” he said. “I knew half of the people that lived here and the other half knew me.”
As a community of invitation and ministry of the Mennonite Church USA, there is a strong sense of camaraderie at Souderton Mennonite Homes, where a diverse population of residents enjoys an active lifestyle with the security of knowing assistance is available when needed.
With independence, flexibility and a comfortable atmosphere, Charlie could not be happier living in the home he knew he truly belonged as he remains connected to the surrounding community that has been so much a part of his life.
“The borough of Souderton is like no other. I’m so delighted that I had the opportunity to be an active part of it,” he said.