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MEQUON - Newcastle Place is looking like new with a majority of the projects funded by a resident’s donation finished.

A handful of projects still remain following the 2014 donation by a resident who passed away.

John Lotter and his wife, Bernice “Cookie” Lotter, were both residents of Newcastle, 12600 N Port Washington Road. According to the Newcastle Executive Director Julie Bissonnette, they left a quarter of their estate to the senior living community following their passing.

Bissonnette said while she couldn't reveal the full dollar amount, the donation was “substantial.” She said the funds came with no determination of what they should go toward.

“It was a very pleasant surprise to receive such a generous donation to help create a lifestyle for our residents,” Bissonnette said. “These dollar amounts should go toward something that benefits the residents.”

Pending projects

While nine projects have already been completed, according to Bissonnette, there are a few still left to be completed. One of those is a salon expansion with a manicure station and pedicure chair. Overall, the salon will double in size and is expected to be completed in June.

The first floor of the health center, with a projected winter 2017 or spring 2018 completion date, is also being worked on. Resident rooms are also being renovated in phases and the renovations were set to begin this year and last into 2019.

Bissonnette said the donation helped to complete projects that otherwise wouldn’t have been done or would have been completed much farther in the future.

“The donation allowed projects that would benefit residents to be expedited,” she said.

Completed projects

In 2014 and 2015, a second fitness center was added to Newcastle’s south campus.

“Residents were desiring that for some time at the south campus,” Bissonnette said.

A health and wellness center was completed in fall 2015 which gave residents access to a podiatrist, two audiologists, and an optometrist. A chiropractor is coming soon.

The Castle Café and Blue Heron Club opened in 2016 at the north campus. Bissonnette said the area didn’t have much of a purpose before. The café was added to offer food to residents and employees in a grab-and-go format.

“The residents really like it,” Bissonnette said. “They’re taking a liking to the chocolate malts.”

Two vehicles were also added with the donated funds. One is designated for off-site transportation while the other provides emergency care.

Two areas hadn’t been touched in 13 years – the memory support area and guest rooms. Both were updated.

“(The new guest rooms) look like little hotel rooms,” Bissonnette said.

The main project was the serenity garden, which Plant Operations Director Brian Loomans said was an idea for years. The garden includes a gazebo, a coy pond, and about $20,000 of landscaping. Bissonnette said multiple events have already been held there and it has been very popular with residents, calling it the “pillar project.”

Meet the Lotters

“The Lotter’s didn’t have children, but they found a community of friends at Newcastle,” Bissonnette said.

When he first met Bernice Lotter, Loomans said she introduced herself as “Cookie” and went by that name everywhere she went. He said he wasn’t sure where that name came from, but every time he made a service call to the Lotter family she was baking.

Often, the Lotters would invite people over for M and M’s — not the candy, but for martinis and munchies, according to Loomans.

John Lotter was a war veteran and met often with other veterans. Loomans said “Cookie” was very outgoing, knew everyone and talked with everyone. Her husband was quieter but had good stories.

Loomans said he wished he would have had more time to listen to some of his stories. John Lotter passed away in February 2014.

When asked what John Lotter might think of all the projects, Loomans said “he’d have a big smile on his face.”

Newcastle Place is a senior living community situated on 52 acres in Mequon.

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