Last fall, Jim and Pat Kermes
settled into a South Roanoke home after living several years in Philadelphia.The Roanoke place had been altered and expanded to accommodate antiques and other special furnishings and a large art collection.
Jim and Pat
wanted their retirement place to provide the right flow for entertaining and even to duplicate some aspects of their Philadelphia place, especially a master bathroom Jim had helped design.
Jim and Pat
also made almost weekly trips to Roanoke to check on the project.
"We had 29 roundtrips back and forth in an eight-month period," Jim said.The couple, married for 38 years, had lived in 10 houses and several communities when they began casting about for a place to retire.When they found it, Pat
wanted everything done to the Roanoke house before they moved into it. In 2002, Jim announced his
retirement as president and CEO of Glenmede Trust Company
"I was impressed by the vibrance of things in Roanoke," Pat
said."It is multicultural, more so than you would anticipate for a town its size."Pat
also found the Roanoke area to be "a little mecca for artisans," a good fit with her
volunteer work in Philadelphia and with her
plans to stay involved with art. Pat had joined the Women's Board in 1997, after moving to the Philadelphia area from Chicago.Her professional background is in nursing, specializing in pediatrics and cardiology.She
also ran her
own business, a needlepoint shop, in Chicago. During the three years Pat was president of the Women's Board, she and her group raised $600,000 in annual gifts and pledged $500,000 toward the Pennsylvania Academy's $50 million capital campaign, according to a 2003 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.
That article referenced the couple's pending move to Roanoke last fall.
The house Jim and Pat
purchased in Roanoke was a two-story brick with a full basement and a large attic.For many years, it had been home to a family that reared 15 children.The attic had been a boys' dorm.The house was large, but the space allocation wasn't quite right for Jim and Pat
In Philadelphia they hosted an annual gathering the first Sunday in December that had grown to 125 guests, and Pat
did all of the cooking for it.
They say they do not know if they will entertain on that scale in retirement, but just in case, Pat
had two dishwashers installed.
The kitchen-dining area's new design also included moving an exterior door a foot to accommodate a hickory and pine corner cabinet built in 1830 in the North Carolina-Tennessee area.
Most of the antique pieces Jim and Pat
have collected date to the early 1800s, but they own several from the mid- to late 1700s.
Jim and Pat
have settled well into Roanoke and already gotten involved in the Roanoke Fine Arts Museum
.They still drive the Roanoke-Philadelphia route regularly, however, as both remain involved in their former community.They are weaning themselves away from Philadelphia in increments, similarly to how they approached retirement.
"These are obligations we had.You don't sever all ties because you move," Jim said.Pat is co-chair for the Women's Board's 2005 USArtists fundraising project and travels to Pennsylvania about three times a month to work on it.
Jim is a member of the board of Pitcairn Company
, parent of Pitcairn Trust Company
, a position that requires a trip back about every two months.
The drive, Pat
says, "keeps you young and happy."
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