story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
For 48 years, Dr. Bailey McBride taught and lived at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond.
“I love the students. The students were just so good,” Dr. McBride said. “They have great hearts. They have great sense of purpose and destiny for their own lives. They’re fun to work with and get to know.”
So when the time came after nearly a half century to stop teaching, McBride couldn’t imagine leaving campus.
Turns out he didn’t have to.
Nestled right on the 200-acre college campus is Tealridge Retirement Community, a full-service community providing independent, assisted living and memory care services to the community of Edmond.
The all-inclusive retirement community located in Edmond is designed for maintenance-free comfort, which freed up McBride to retire on his terms.
Dr. McBride remembers his decades at Oklahoma Christian fondly.
“Over the years there was a lot of changes in the way students looked at life,” he said. “When I first came to OC they looked at life much more positively than students nowadays do but I’ve seen some cycling back. “The last year I taught I had some of the most positive and optimistic freshman I had ever had. I really enjoyed it.”
Tealridge Retirement Community was also where he met his wife, Linda.
The two went out for lunch and things were never the same.
Now the pair will celebrate their second wedding anniversary this June in London. Linda’s grandchildren will come along for a trip of a lifetime.
“I really like the people who are a part of this community,” Dr. McBride said. “There isn’t anybody here that I don’t really enjoy being around. They’ve got great stories to tell and they’ve had great life experiences.”
One of those people Dr. McBride admires is Cheryl Parker.
At 92, Parker has called Tealridge home for the better part of 12 years.
Along the way she was able to help guide two sisters through health issues, all the while coming back to Tealridge to rest and recharge.
“When they were beginning to build this they sent people out to different congregations to let them know what was happening,” Parker said. “We weren’t ready then to think about it but we put it in the back of our mind.”
“When it became time to think about coming over here my husband really was ready.”
Even after the passing of her husband, Parker knew Tealridge would always be her home.
“I knew several people and that helps a lot,” she explained of the feeling of comfort she felt when she moved in.
Across the hall from Parker lives Sarah Fleming, a relatively new Tealridge resident.
Fleming found her way to Tealridge the hard way from Lake Tenkiller.
“I fell four times in January flat on my face out in public of course,” she laughed. “My daughter lives in Edmond and had heard about Tealridge.”
Keeping up with a large house on an acre of land had become too much for Fleming. Living at the lake was fun, but being close to family and services when she needed them the most was more important.
Fleming found her faith at 15 and she believes it led her to where she is today.
“I have no doubt that this is where God wants me. I love people. I love getting to know people,” she said.
It only took a week before Tealridge Executive Director Melissa Mahaffey, MHA, asked Fleming to come visit her in her office.
The offer was extended for Fleming to help welcome new residents.
“I know this is where I’m supposed to be,” she laughed.
After seven houses in 14 states, Fleming says this is the first time she’s ever lived in a city.
And she loves it.
Dr. McBride and wife, Linda, are a different story.
Linda has two daughters – one in Colorado Springs and one in Edmond.
“When they decided I needed to be close to one of them the one with the grandchildren won out,” she said. “I told them up front I wasn’t playing favorites but … that certainly entered into the decision.”
Todd Markum and his wife, Nancy, sold their home just a half mile away to move to Tealridge.
“We always wanted to be here,” he said.“ We got the chance to do it and came.”
Their third-floor residence has a view overlooking geese, ducks and people fishing in the nearby pond. Ask around and the stories are similar among residents.
Tealridge Retirement Community was a choice. And one that everyone is glad they made.