Meet Our Residents
Hear the life stories of our wonderful residents, and get their advice on exploring retirement living.
Andre Dominguez; Uncovering History
Andre describes his hobby as part passion, part volunteer contribution, and part research. But it’s also a “thrilling hunt” that combines data, mystery, excitement, and satisfaction.
Andre’s love for “uncovering history” began with his interest in his own personal family genealogy. When Andre retired from his career as a Nuclear Power Engineer/Manager, he didn’t waste any time being idle. He joined the historical society in Bloomsburg, PA, where he attended seminars and began doing historical genealogy research. This led to his involvement with local cemeteries and eventually “Find a Grave.com” where over the years Andre has made more than 15,000 contributions identifying and posting photos of gravestones.
Finding a long-lost relative’s identity, uncovering a buried gravestone, or finding a connection for someone that has been searching for years, is deeply satisfying and makes people happy.
Since he has lived at Homestead Village, Andre has volunteered at LancasterHistory.org and has continued his research at area historic cemeteries. Several HV residents have joined Andre in his adventures. “Thankfully, there are a few residents here who can translate German tombstones!”, Andre said. Another resident loans his pickup truck to help Andre transport his metal tripod that he uses to lift toppled stones.
Here in Lancaster County, his contributions include mapping and documenting gravesites in locations such as Lancaster Cemetery, Conestoga Memorial Park, Woodward Hill, and Riverview. A team that Andre works with, led by Blue Star Mom Maureen Leary, has documented the locations of over 600 graves that are currently located in Lancaster Cemetery but were not listed in cemetery records. They also identified over 1,000 graves of veterans, over half of whom were not previously identified!
One of the most exciting discoveries was a gravestone from the Civil War that was almost completely buried. He and Maureen knew the grave existed, but could not find the location until one day they were probing the ground and “clink” they hit the stone. “It was an extremely exciting moment,” he recalls. They used mini marble chips to gradually “walk” the stone up out of the ground and resurrect it.
Andre’s work has inspired others to join in. On October 30th, a group of members of the Donegal Witness-Tree Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Blue Star Moms, and others worked to map the final acreage of the Lancaster Cemetery that is not yet thoroughly documented. He also teaches volunteers how to use conservation methods to safely clean gravestones, how to document gravestone conditions and how to meticulously gather the data.
Most recently, Andre has been asked to help map and document the gravestones in the Rohrerstown Cemetery (behind Farmstead!) “Working in a cemetery is a great hobby for those looking to follow COVID protocol, because everyone is 6 feet away.” Andre quipped.
Allen and Nancy Tate – Community Leadership through Volunteerism.
Lancaster Creative Reuse (LCR) 501(c)(3) was established in 2009 by co-founders Jeannie Zeller and Andrea Stoner Leaman who saw the potential in untapped supply resources, generated by both individuals and businesses, that were often destined for landfills.
Homestead Village residents Nancy and Allen Tate have been a volunteers with the Lancaster Creative Reuse Store for numerous years. Since 2010, Nancy has been a volunteer in the store and helps with processing materials and donations. Allen has been involved for over 10 years of which the past 5 years as a Board member and for the past 3 years as Board President . They both have been a part of LCR’s growth.
In addition to being a wonderful way to reuse, recycle and sell affordable crafting items that may otherwise be discarded, the organization also serves the greater community by providing low cost or free materials to many community groups such as the Lancaster Refugee Project, Boys and Girls Club, Lancaster Humane Society, HDC Ruoff Senior House, schools, senior centers, and more!
The mission of Lancaster Creative Reuse is “to connect community excess to those who can use it creatively. Through the low-cost store, Open Craft Table and education programs, LCR inspires creativity, increases access to the arts through affordability, and encourages reuse.”
Many times, when people are downsizing, one of the hardest things to part with is their craft supplies. Craft materials are more than just items; they represent ideas and dreams of projects that you’ve always hoped to make with that special piece of fabric or that ball of yarn. But sometimes there’s just too many projects to do, and un-used supplies just stay in drawer and gather dust. This is where Lancaster Creative Reuse comes in!
If you would like to donate items to the shop, small donations of two bags or less can be brought to the store and dropped off. If you have more than two bags the store asks for you to schedule an appointment to drop off the items and have them examined so they can be sure that there is room for them and someone to assist you—Occasionally, pick up service is also available for very large donations.
If you’re looking to become involved in a wonderful and creative atmosphere that also gives back to the community— consider joining Allen and Nancy at Homestead Village, and at Lancaster Creative Reuse!
A longtime Lancaster resident, Nancy worked as a sales representative and freelance journalist. Now retired, she is lending her talents to Homestead Village, where she volunteers in the gift shop and has become the first female member of the woodshop. Her advice to anyone considering a move? “Make the decision while you can still enjoy the process, as well as the services and amenities that Homestead has to offer.” Nancy also suggests that you visit multiple communities. “You’ll know when you’re at the right one,” she says.
Some might say that Kitty is a local celebrity! For many years, she enjoyed owning and managing the elegant Filling’s clothing shop in downtown Lancaster. She joined our waiting list in 2014 and moved into a cottage this fall. In her free time, Kitty enjoys golf, painting, gardening, sewing, cooking, decorating and bridge. She knew Homestead Village was the place she wanted to live because of its convenience to everything that was important to her. “It’s beautiful but homey at the same time,” she says.” Her advice to future residents? “Join the waiting list early — you’ll be glad you did.”