Retiring in a College Town

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retirement community pa college townMaddy and Newton Cattell spent years living near Penn State. They raised their four children in State College. They had season tickets and traveled back for football weekends even after moving to Virginia. But they had never considered retiring in the college town.

The Cattells moved to State College, PA in 1956 when Newton was offered a job with the university. Newton helped to establish the college’s continuing education program and later became the first federal lobbyist for Penn State. His promotion took the couple to Washington, D.C.

In D.C., Newton founded the Midwestern Universities Alliance and lobbied for several universities in that region. Maddy continued her long career as a secretary working in a rehab facility. When Newton needed part-time help in his office, Maddy decided to quit her job and work for him. She remembers, “People thought we were crazy. They always said, ‘How can you live together and work together?'”

Maddy says it was easy, mostly because they observed their “professional roles.” She also admits, “It didn’t hurt that we always got along really well either.” The couple worked together for eight years before retiring.

Maddy recalls, “We started looking for retirement communities relatively early because we didn’t want to burden our children in the future.” After touring several places, the Cattells initially decided on a community in North Carolina near Duke University. When they heard about the construction of The Village at Penn State, a life care community in State College, they began to rethink their decision.

“We went up for a football weekend and visited the community and immediately put down a deposit,” says Maddy. After carefully comparing the communities, they withdrew their deposit in North Carolina and decided to wait for The Village to be completed. Maddy relates, “We were so anxious to move in that we were the very first residents. We were here at 8 AM on the first day.”

A few years after their move, Newton was diagnosed with lung cancer. After a long battle, he passed away last year. Maddy says, “During that time, the residents and the staff here really saved my life. They provided so much compassion and love. It was incredible.” The support of her community during this difficult time helped Maddy pull through. Today, she remains active and involved.

“I am so happy that we moved here,” she states simply. “Life is fuller here. You can be as busy and social as you want to be.” Maddy’s schedule includes Pilates classes, lectures, and frequent golf games. A long-time fan, Maddy attends football games and women’s basketball games whenever she can. Gazing out her window at the imposing stadium, Maddy concludes, “Being near the university provides so many opportunities. Living in a college town really is great.”

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