Family of Johnny Orr, former ISU basketball coach, hosted Alzheimer’s Discussion at Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail Retirement Community in Ankeny

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Jill Hofer, Director of Communication

Watermark Retirement Communities



Gabby Bladdick

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Family of Johnny Orr, former ISU basketball coach, hosted Alzheimer’s Discussion at Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail Retirement Community in Ankeny


Ankeny, Iowa (Nov. 16, 2012) –– Many Iowa State University fans hear the name “Johnny Orr” and immediately think of basketball success, but there is much more to that story. 


Johnny Orr’s family hosted “FISH TALES: Life Lessons to Live by when Alzheimer’s Affects your Family” on Thursday, November 1 at Johnny and his wife Romala (Romie)’s residence, Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail Retirement Community in Ankeny.


Attendees heard from the two daughters of Johnny Orr and Romie — Jenny Orr David and Becky Orr Montgomery— as they discussed their life with their mother’s memory care and how the family decided together to make Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail retirement community their parent’s new home.


“Having the Orr family — who has lived in the public’s eye for years — open up about their personal experience with Alzheimer’s allowed all attendees to gain a better understanding of the disease that affects so many people today,” said Jewl Russell, Executive Director at Vintage Hills. “Johnny, Romie and their daughters are much more than just ISU basketball and everyone in attendance was enthralled to learn their touching story.”


Orr joined ISU as head basketball coach in 1980. He went on to lead the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament berth in 40 years, a sweet sixteen appearance in 1986 and four additional NCAA tournament berths before retiring in 1994. He is ISU’s most winning coach with 218 wins to date and was named National Coach of the Year in 1975-76.


The Orr family became residents of Vintage Hills in 2012 with the realization that Romie could best be cared for with the help of the caregivers at Ankeny’s premiere retirement and memory care community.


Vintage Hills is Ankeny’s only private, personalized Alzheimer and memory care neighborhood.  November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and the event was created to educate, enlighten and support families in the Ankeny area.


For more information, please visit www.watermarkcommunities.com/VintageHillsAnkeny


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Located at 1275 State Street, Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail has capacity for 64 residents, including Assisted Living and Memory Care residences. Jewl Russell is the Executive Director. Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc., one of America’s leading operators of senior living communities, assumed management of Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail in August 2012.  Visit www.watermarkcommunities.com/VintageHillsAnkeny/ or phone 1-515-963-4000 for more information about Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail of Ankeny.



In 2010, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) ranked privately-held, Tucson-based Watermark Retirement Communities among the nation’s 25 largest seniors housing operators. Watermark’s commitment to creating extraordinary communities where people thrive dates back 24 years to when it opened its first retirement community in 1987. Watermark manages 31 retirement communities plus home health agencies coast to coast, in 16 states. Visit www.watermarkcommunities.com for more information. 


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