Family donates rose garden in celebration of longtime Wesley Community resident turning 100

Rose garden with rocks in the center

The Wesley Community today announced it has received a rose garden donated by the family of longtime resident Elsie G.B. Shepherd in honor of her 100th birthday. The Elsie G.B. Shepherd Centennial Rose Garden at The Wesley Community is located in the courtyard of the Hathorn building, part of Wesley Health Care Center.

Shepherd’s family presented her with an oversized birthday card and promised the rose garden when Shepard turned 100 on November 1, 2014. The Wesley Community maintenance staff tilled the garden in May and planting commenced in June, with members of the family spending time on weekends adding flowers and tending the garden.

“We are always delighted when a resident’s family donates their time and resources to make the quality of life at The Wesley Community’s even better,” said J. Brian Nealon, CEO of The Wesley Community. “Many residents and their families will now be able to enjoy this beautiful space thanks to the generosity of Elsie Shepherd’s family.”

Shepherd’s family fondly remembers the farm Shepherd shared with her husband, Clare, in Weedsport, NY. They raised livestock and harvested crops, and Shepherd tended multiple rose gardens near the farmhouse. Noted for her green thumb, Shepherd would routinely send a rose home with her grandchildren at the conclusion of a summer visit to the farm.

“It was such a treat as a kid to take home one of Grandma Elsie’s roses after spending a summer vacation with her,” said Kate Jarosh, Shepherd’s granddaughter. “I can remember holding the little sandwich baggie containing water with a big beautiful rose sticking out of the top all the way home.”

Shepherd’s family gathered with her recently to enjoy the garden in its full summer bloom. “It was a fantastic afternoon together,” Jarosh said. “We enjoyed the courtyard, the new garden and being together with family, as we hope many other families will now do at the rose garden.”

Shepherd’s family will soon place a stone identifying the garden as “Elsie G.B. Shepherd’s Centennial Rose Garden” in addition to adding a trellis and climbers. The Wesley Community is grateful for the wonderful addition to the campus and for the continued support of families who appreciate its mission.