Ansley Crouch: A Clemson Wish

We found out about 2 weeks ago that one of our dear residents, Ansley Crouch had cancer and was terminal. He never told Marketing Director, Susan Jackson, what his senior wish would be, only that it would have something to do with Clemson. Since he had already met Coach Dabo, Coach Brownell, the Clemson Tiger and several cheerleaders, Susan wanted to do something different, but it had to happen very quickly. She knew that one of our volunteer drivers, Thelton Powell, has a grandson, Robert Jolly, who plays baseball at Clemson and also rooms with Hunter Renfrow. Susan called Thelton and asked if he could help her. Hunter wasn’t able to make it, but he autographed a Clemson baseball cap and Robert, along with his grandfather, the hat, and an autographed baseball, made a surprise visit to Ansley in Abbeville. Ansley was delighted! A HUGE thank you to Thelton and Robert for taking time out of their busy schedules to assist in this last minute Senior Wish!


The Renaissance was awarded the Abbeville County Business of the Year

The Renaissance won the Abbeville County Business of the Year Award presented by the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce. We wish to thank Gary and Marilyn Gilmer who purchased The Renaissance in 2013 and all of our fabulous staff that contributed to making the award a reality.View Post

AAMC Benefit Bash

Staff had a wonderful evening at the AAMC Benefit Bash!

March Birthday Party

Residents had a great time celebrating the March birthdays today! And it just happened to also be St. Patrick’s Day!



Jan Brown: Chef and the Farmer

Wow!! What a great day fulfilling Josie Jan Parks-Brown’s Senior Wish in Kinston, NC! We started the day at the Farmer’s Market, toured the Brothers Farm where Jan met Warren and Lillie, got a tour of their Bed & Breakfast, ate lunch at the Queen Street Deli and Bakery, got a behind the scenes tour of The Chef & The Farmer Restaurant, toured Vivian’s office and test kitchen where Jan was able to spend time just chatting with Vivian, went to the Boiler Room were we were treated to some appetizers and cocktails, then Jan was treated to an amazing dinner at The Chef & The Farmer!! I can’t thank Holley Pierce enough for making this all happen and being our escort all day!! And of course, thank you SO MUCH to Vivian and Ben of The Chef & the Farmer for treating Jan to an absolutely amazing day!!!

This article was originally published by the Index-Journal:


Ann Grubb: Music School

Another Renaissance Senior Wish has been granted!! Ann Grubb has always wanted to go to the Stamps Baxter School of Music in Murfreesboro, Tennessee but has never had the money to go. Last week, we received word that the scholarship we filled out in regards to our Senior Wish Program had been accepted! And so, she attended the school for a week, with her tuition and room paid in full! What makes it even more special, is that her 88 year old sister, Claudia, was able to attend so they were room mates in the dorm!! Congrats, Ann!!! Love you!!

Article published by the Daily News Journal, of Murfreesboro, TN:

Rolling down the highway on a road trip of a lifetime, Ann Grubb is about to live out the top item on her bucket list. Her car radio is set on SiriusXM radio channel 65, enLighten Southern Gospel Music and it never changes.  She admits a little sheepishly if the selection is moved when her car is serviced, “I can get a little annoyed.”  The spunky 77-year-old has held her dream in her heart so long she can’t remember when it began, but happily knows it will end on a high note at Ben Speer’s Stamps-Baxter Music School at Middle Tennessee State University.

Grubb learned she would be going to Tennessee during an unexpected lunchtime announcement made at The Renaissance, a retirement center for assisted and independent living in the upstate South Carolina town of Due West, where she and husband, Ernie, 86, live.

Susan Jackson, The Renaissance’s marketing director, said the current crescendo of excitement is the result of the Southern Gospel music school presenting a one-week scholarship to Grubb as part of the center’s Senior Wish program that grants a lifelong desire or bucket list item for residents as the funds and opportunities become available.

 “Linda Barnhill, the school’s administrator was amazing to work with us to make Ann’s wish come true,” Jackson said. “We are so appreciative of their generosity. We try to make the unveiling of the wish a surprise for the recipient as much as possible. Following their meal, I announced to our residents it was time to fulfill another wish and Ann Grubb needed to get her bags packed because she was going to Tennessee to attend Ben Speer’s music school for a week. Ann was so shocked, she just sat at her table and cried.”

The music school will be held July 10-22 of which Grubb will be attending one week.

A retired educator from the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis, Grubb hasn’t had time to think about being bored during her retirement years. She is a talented pianist who accompanies the Sunday church service where she lives, then quickly scoots off to a nearby Baptist church to play for a second worship gathering, sings gospel music with her husband, she organizes a weekly Bible study and newsletter for the center, drives her neighbors to doctors’ appointments and, as Jackson pointed out, “has lived a life full of doing for others, so this is going to be a nice blessing, getting to enjoy some time for herself.”

After gathering her wits, Grubb says one of the first people she wanted to call and share the good news with was her 87-year-old sibling Claudia Deen who replied with a typical, tongue-in-cheek response only a sister can say

She congratulated me, told me how happy she was to hear the news, then said she hated me,” Grubbs said with a hearty laugh.

Knowing how much Deen, who directed her church choir for more than three decades and is quite a talented vocalist, would love going, too, Grubb quickly composed a secret plan of her own.

As she plotted the scheme, precious memories swirled in the mind of the younger sister. She recalled how Deen had always wanted to pursue college and formal vocal training  following high school graduation, but due to limited finances, went to work to help her family. Soon, she would scrape together $200 to buy them an upright piano.

“When I was old enough Claudia paid for my piano lessons until she married and moved out of our family home,” recalled Grubb.  Also, she bought my Easter clothes and the outfit for my first high school sock hop. She has always had a giving heart.”

Following various conversations with family members who agreed to chip in to help with Deen’s expenses and drive her to Murfreesboro from Indiana, Grubb sprung the news on her sister. The solo act had changed to a duet, and the dynamic duo — two sisters who have shared so much were about to embark on a first in their long lives  —be college dorm roommates.

“I was shocked,” Deen said. “First, I thought at my age I can’t do that, but I would love to go.  I do have a little trouble walking, but the more Ann talked, the more excited I got. It is a music (Southern gospel) I dearly love. I’m just looking forward to being in the middle of a bunch of people that can sing.”

Southern gospel music is as tightly entwined in their lives as the harmony and melody lines of the great hymns they both love.

As a young girl, Deen, the oldest of six children, sang in a family quartet with her father and another sister and brother. Grubb has warm memories of attending all-night gospel sings as a teenager, where she heard famous groups such as the Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen Quartet perform into the wee hours of the morning.

More recently, the siblings are great fans of the Bill Gaither Homecoming videos, where they have enjoyed the performances of the school’s founder, Ben Speer and, his niece, Allison Speer, also a vocal instructor and student favorite … especially of Deen, who plans on taking private voice lessons with the performer during the week.

Grubb will be busy running the ivories in her own adventure as a private student with renowned gospel pianist Tim Parton.

In their minds, it is still a little surreal for the sisters to think about meeting people they have admired and enjoyed for so long. But, they are more than ready to head to Tennessee.

Between packing, Grubb and Deen are busy singing the praises of Jackson and Barnhill for their efforts in helping not one, but two spry seniors chase their dreams and write the latest verse in the songs of their lives.

The concluding evening concert this year will pay tribute to Speer and his dedication and many contributions to the school during the last three decades. Directed by Chase Moore, a former student at the school, the talented Stamps-Baxter choir comprised of this year’s students, and returning alumni, will present an inspiring program of gospel classics in a style similar to the Gaither Homecoming shows.  A joyful time of music and memories will be co-hosted by Kenna West and Allison Speer, niece of the school’s founder. The evening will showcase special choral arrangements by Moore and pianist Tim Parton, who along with a live band, will be accompanying the choir and other featured performances.

Sara Payne - Braves' Spring Training

Sara Payne: Braves’ Spring Training

Sarah’s Senior Wish was to go to see her beloved Atlanta Braves at Spring Training in Orlando Florida. She had always wanted to go but never had the chance. At the age of 92 yrs young now, that type of trip would be too difficult do to health issues and macular degeneration. So… we brought Spring Training to Sarah!! Thanks to the help of the wonderful Braves organization, a special video was created just for Sarah from Orlando! They also sent her a huge gift package full of Braves souvenirs! The Renaissance bought her a Braves jersey with her name and number 92 (for her age) on the back, and I managed to locate former Braves pitcher, Phil Neikro, who sent her a sweet letter with an autographed picture. Lots of family and friends came to surprise her and her “adopted” Erskine Tennis Granddaughter, Sarah McDonald, presented her with her jersey. We all sang the Star Spangled Banner before we started the event, and took a 7th inning stretch to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Of course no Spring Training would be complete without peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks! And if all of that wasn’t enough, Phil Niekro called and personally thanked her for being a devoted fan all these years! Happy Senior Wish, Sarah!! We love you!!

Index Journal published this article about Sara’ wish:

Sarah Payne is 92 years old and has always dreamed of going to see her beloved Atlanta Braves during spring training in Orlando, Florida. While she’s unable to make the trip to Florida now, the people at Renaissance Retirement Community in Due West decided to bring spring training to her, with the help of the Braves’ organization.

Members of the team created a special video for Sarah from Orlando. They also sent her a package full of Braves souvenirs. The Renaissance bought her a Braves jersey with her name and age on the back.

Former Braves pitcher Phil Niekro even sent her a letter with an autographed photo.

Sarah’s spring training experience was part of the community’s Senior Wish Program.

Susan Jackson, Marketing Director at Renaissance, says many of Payne’s family and friends even came to surprise her during the special event. The crowd sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and took a seventh-inning stretch to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Of course, they also served peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

To top it all off, Niekro actually called her on the day of the surprise to personally thank her for being such a devoted fan.

Greenville Online published the following:

The Renaissance Retirement Community granted a Senior Wish to Sarah Payne. Her wish was to see the Atlanta Braves at spring training in Orlando.

At the age of 92, the trip would be too difficult because of health issues and macular degeneration, so Susan Jackson, marketing director, brought spring training to her. With the help of the Braves organization, a special video was created from spring training and Payne received a huge gift package full of Braves souvenirs.

The Renaissance bought her a Braves jersey with her name and number 92, for her age, presented to her by her granddaughter, Sarah McDonald. Former Braves pitcher, Phil Neikro, sent her a letter with an autographed picture. He also called and thanked her for being a devoted Braves fan.

Winnie Phillips: Lake Louise, Canada

Winnie, one of our wonderful 96 year old residents, had her Senior Wish of returning to Lake Louise granted today! Well, sort of… We had to bring Lake Louise to her! Lots of her friends showed up to surprise her and take the trip to Canada with her! While watching a special video made just for her, it just happened to snow!! Winnie shared her stories of Lake Louise and was thrilled to have a dear friend, that had taken a trip there with her years ago, also attend her special day! She opened gifts sent by two ladies at the Chateau Lake Louise and everyone enjoyed a special Lake Louise cake made by Aly Smyth! Winnie said, “This was great! It was almost like being there!”   Thanks to everyone who helped make today a success!!

JoAnna Kennedy: Georgia Aquarium

The Renaissance granted another Senior Wish today!!! JoAnna Kennedy has been blessed with doing a lot in her 80 years, but she’s always wanted to go to the Georgia Aquarium, so today… we made it happen!! Along with her husband Donald, we enjoyed a wonderful day of marine life, a nice lunch, and a “Behind the Scenes” short tour! What a fun day with two incredible people!!

Don Kennedy: Skydiving

The Renaissance granted another resident his Senior Wish this week! Congrats to 88 year old WWII Veteran, Donald Kennedy on his very first sky dive!! He did great! And thanks to SkyDive Carolina for allowing him to jump at no cost!