Wirtzie’s Childcare and Preschool
Dick and Eileen Bloechl always believed in supporting their community, whether it was in their hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or their retirement community in Arizona. They were honored with the Interfaith Community Care (Benevilla) Spirit of Philanthropy Award in 2007.
Dick retired from UPS after a career of 31 years in National Finance, serving in five states throughout the Midwest. In each state, he was proud to serve on boards of many nonprofit agencies and used his skills to assist with fundraising efforts.
Eileen was a social worker in the Green Bay area, and together they raised four daughters and one son. She saw the value of creating an atmosphere of learning and love for children of all ages. They desired that their legacy be defined by providing a nurturing environment for the children of future generations. Eileen’s maiden name was Wirtz, and her college friends affectionately called her Wirtzie. This name became the inspiration for the name Wirtzie’s Preschool and Child Care. Although Dick and Eileen are not longer with us, their legacy lives on serving children and families in our community.
Ken and Alice Meade always lived by the Golden Rule – it’s important to help take care of the community where you live and work. They were long-time supporters of Benevilla, making sure that the services Benevilla provides continued to be available. Ken served on many boards with other nonprofits and used his skills to help raise money for the community. Ken was honored with the Benevilla Spirit of Philanthropy Award in 2008.
Both Ken and Alice were born in New York City and moved to Phoenix with their three children in 1958. They eventually opened Ken Meade Realty in 1983. Alice’s Wonderland is a testament to their commitment to all generations having the best quality of life possible.
Alice’s Wonderland consists of a trike track, splash pad, treehouse slide, play equipment, and sand/grass play areas.
“I’m naming this playground after Alice because I love her, and she deserves this.” ~Ken Meade
Ken and Alice have since entered their eternal home, but their commitment to the youngest generation continues to live on.
Art’s Center for All Ages
After coming to Sun City West as Michigan snowbirds, Art and Helen Nickless deeply appreciated the way Benevilla provided respite care for spouses who were faithfully caring for their beloved mates.
Art and Helen were devoted to their family and took a “family first” attitude that extended to helping under-served children of the next generation and generations to come.
Part of the commitment was Art’s support in opening Art’s Center for All Ages, a dedicated space between Lucy Anne’s Place and Wirtzie’s Preschool and Childcare, which allows children and older adults to come together to learn and grow and enjoy relationships with each other that are life-giving to all.
The impact of the Nickless’ gift is still felt long past their deaths and reflected in the smiles of the children and seniors participating in Benevilla’s Intergenerational Program at Art’s Center for All Ages.
Lucy Anne’s Place
Hal and Lucy Anne met while working together at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and married in 1953. They raised four wonderful daughters together – Sally, Carol, Lynn and Laura.
One of the things that both Hal and Lucy Anne loved to do together was fly an airplane. While Hal was flying their private plane for leisure and business, Lucy Anne decided that she too wanted to learn how to be a pilot and started taking flying lessons. Once Lucy Anne learned how to land the plane, they flew all over the US and Canada.
Hal and Lucy Anne moved to Arizona in 1993 to be close with their daughters and grandchildren. Once they decided it was time to permanently “land their plane,” they enjoyed motor homing.
Years later, Lucy Anne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In honor of his wife, Hal named the day center program on the Benevilla main campus after her.
“Interfaith Community Care (Benevilla) is a wonderful organization. They provide real-life benefits for those who need help,” Hal said. “Lucy Anne’s Place will offer caregivers a great deal of relief. It is a great way to give back to the community and honor Lucy Anne.”
Birt and Louisa Kellam moved to Sun City West in January 1990 and have been supporters of Benevilla since 1991. They decided to sponsor Birt’s Bistro because they believe the project will have a positive effect on the community.
Birt retired as Corporate Vice President of A. G. Edwards, Inc. a national investment firm headquartered in St. Louis. Louisa played violin with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and for touring music stars and ballet companies.
Birt and Louisa’s commitment to the community is widely felt. Both serve on nonprofit boards and lend their assistance to several local agencies. They were honored with the Benevilla Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award in 2019.