QC married couple of 53 years celebrates Night to Shine at Senior Star @ Elmore Place

Senior Star Elmore Place Team

For the full story: https://www.kwqc.com/2022/02/12/qc-married-couple-53-years-celebrates-night-shine-senior-star/

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – As official Night to Shine events happened across the Quad Cities tonight, the residents of Senior Star at Elmore Place’s memory support unit also had their own night of fun with family and loved ones. The unit is home to Diane Gere, her husband John spends a lot of his time there. Tonight was a special one for the couple of 53 years. “We’ve both been looking forward to this for quite a while,” John told me. John met Diane in college in Des Moines, they were married by their senior year.

″We came here to do our careers,” said John. “We were married for about eight years before we had any children. Now we have three daughters that are all grown.” John was an architect, and Diane started out teaching high school English, before specializing in hazardous materials and the environment at Eastern Iowa Community College. Over their five decades together, they shared a love for art, music, and beautiful places. Diane had a passion for gardening and reading. “Seeing somebody reading two or three books at the same time and trying to keep straight what one book is about as opposed to the other one was pretty admirable.” said John.

About seven years ago, Diane was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “We ended up watching a lot of cable news and that sort of thing,” said John. “There was always text scrolling and titles at the, at the bottom of the screen, and she got to a point where she couldn’t, couldn’t read the bold type.” But as reading became difficult, the couple found comfort in some of their other shared interests. “It was kind of a regular thing that in the afternoon we pour a couple of drinks and go to the living room where the piano is,” said John. “I would play for 45 minutes or something like that while she was enjoying her drink.”

John, a pianist since age 10, also composed pieces dedicated to Diane. In 2020, Diane moved into Senior Star’s memory support unit. Tonight at Senior Star’s Night to Shine dance, the couple and their youngest daughter celebrated with music again. ″I think it’s fabulous to be able to make my interaction, my visit with her more than just eating or being with her.” said John. Senior Star went all out, with makeovers, photos, dinner, and dancing. A classic date night, for couples and families who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.

“Our whole family has realized how close we are to each other,” said John. “Now we call it the Gere team, that we’re all supporting each other and Diane.”


Story By Collin Schopp (KWQC – Chl 6)
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 10:47 PM CST