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Published: March 8, 2024

headshot of Carol Harvey

Kendal at Oberlin is home to more than 300 men and women in their 60s and well beyond. They come from near (Oberlin and Cleveland) and far (Hawaii, Canada and elsewhere). The residents share many common values, such as sustainability and lifelong learning, and many have ties to Oberlin College. But each resident has his or her own unique story.

Meet Carol Harvey.Soon after Kendal at Oberlin opened in 1993, Carol Harvey saw an ad for the retirement community in the back of the Oberlin College alumni magazine that highlighted the community’s Quaker values and resident engagement.

 “That ad spoke to me, and as an only child I knew I needed to be at a place like Kendal,” says Carol, Oberlin Conservatory of Music alum, class of 1962.

Carol kept Kendal on her radar for when she was ready to make such a move. In 2013, widowed and retired as a food pantry manager in nearby Medina County, she moved to Kendal.

The ad was spot on. “Kendal is amazing, such a friendly community. I feel right at home,” she says.

A decade of Kendal activities

The life plan community is known for its annual and very creative events, which has become a forum to highlight the many talented musicians, performing and literary artists, designers and the like who live at Kendal. As chair of the Special Events subcommittee Carol coordinates Spring Fling, Winter Solstice, the July 4 gala and in recent years the community’s 25th and 30th anniversary celebrations.

“Over the years I realized I was a pretty good organizer. Plus I’m a shy person so I like to be in the background,” she says.

She also uses her organization skills to help plan memorial services for families who want to have a service at Kendal to remember their loved ones. “I treat it like they’re coming to my home,” she says, and rounds up residents to play music, preside over the service or whatever else the family requests.

After five years, Carol is stepping down from Kendal’s marketing committee, which is made up of Kendal residents, staff and community leaders who advise the community on marketing matters. (Marketing efforts, ranging from the quarterly ad in the New Yorker to outreach to Oberlin College graduates, have helped contribute to a 90+% occupancy rate.) 

But she already has another activity on her plate. She’s a mentor to a new resident, a yearlong commitment to help new residents navigate their transition to living at Kendal. “She’s my neighbor so I know we’ll stay in touch beyond the mentoring,” Carol says.

Carol’s many musical memories

As a voice major, Carol was one of 120 Oberlin Conservatory students to spend her junior year studying at the Mozarteum Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Salzburg, Austria.

Over the years and while living in cities in New York, California and elsewhere Carol enjoyed singing classical sacred music in church choirs and community choruses. She retired as a soloist in 2011.

“I certainly used to go to all the Oberlin concerts, but I’m a morning person and I like to be home at night,” she says.

Carol’s activities on and off campus may come and go, but one thing is constant, she says:

“I obviously love it here.”


Learn More About Kendal at Oberlin – A Vibrant Community for Older Adults

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Author Molly Kavanaugh 2020In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.