LSS Blog

Lutheran Senior Services details $50 million Town & Country Community

(Reprinted with permission from the St. Louis Business Journal. Alteration or further reproduction is strictly prohibited. ©2016 St. Louis Business Journal, 815 Olive Street, Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63101. View original here.)


Lutheran Senior Services is planning to build a 140-unit independent living apartment facility on its Mason Pointe campus, a key part of its plan to turnaround the former The Cedars at Town & Country facility, which LSS bought and rebranded earlier this year.

LSS is in the initial planning stages for the apartment building, which Chief Financial Officer Paul Ogier said could have a price tag “somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million,” and does not plan to break ground until 2018. The senior services provider is targeting a 2020 completion date for the facility.
LSS plans to build a 140-unit independent living facility at its Mason Pointe campus.

A current $97.7 million bond offering from LSS includes about $3.5 million in funding earmarked for the initial development process of the planned apartment building, as well as funds for ongoing renovations to the existing Mason Pointe facilities.




The majority of the money from the new bond offering — more than $60 million — will be used to refinance existing debt, according to the bond document filing with the Health and Educational Facilities Authority of the State of Missouri. Besides the money pegged for the Mason Pointe project, the rest of the $36 million from the bond sale will be used to fund ongoing improvements at LSS’s Lenoir Woods senior community in Columbia, Missouri. LSS is constructing 79 independent living apartments on the campus, with an expected completion date of June 2017. LSS also is planning to build the second phase of a replacement care center on the campus that would include a 32-bed short-stay rehab unit, 32 skilled nursing beds, 24 assisted living memory care apartments and additional common space. Construction on that project is expected to begin in November.

Ogier said he expects to price the bonds and get commitments by the last week of September.

LSS purchased the 230-bed The Cedars senior living community, now Mason Pointe, from Cedars Properties LLC in February. Local nonprofit Jewish Center for Aged developed the $60 million Cedars facility as The Cedars at the JCA in 2003, but defaulted on its mortgage. Lehman Brothers Holdings bought the debt from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2007, and a Lehman affiliate took ownership of the facility in 2010 and then sold it to Cedars Properties LLC in 2012.

Following its acquisition of the property, LSS moved the rehabilitation services it previously operated on the Mercy St. Louis hospital campus to Mason Pointe, which is located at 13190 S. Outer 40 Road.

LSS has since been working to turn around operations at the struggling facility, which, under the previous owner, had been operating at significantly less than its operating capacity with 55 percent of its beds occupied by Medicaid residents, according to the bond documents. LSS is projecting a combined operating loss of about $8 million in 2016 for both the Mason Pointe facility and the former rehab facility it operated at Mercy, but the organization is hoping to reduce the facility’s operating loss to $1.2 million by 2019 through steps such as the recent opening of a 30-bed private pay skilled nursing wing, increasing its short-stay rehab occupancy and a planned expansion of the assisted living area from 10 to 20 apartments. LSS also hopes to decrease the percentage of Medicaid residents at the facility, although Ogier emphasized that no current residents would be asked to leave.

The planned construction of the independent apartment facility is “expected to have the greatest impact on the financial performance” of Mason Pointe, and the campus is expected to operate without a loss by 2020, according to the bond document.

Lutheran Senior Services celebrates the life and legacy of Rev. Vern Gundermann

vernLutheran Senior Services celebrates the life and legacy of Rev. Vern Gundermann. He fearlessly carried the love of Christ in his heart, but yet so freely gave it out to those around him. During his time as Administrator of Pastoral Care, he brought his many gifts to the mission of Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest. We are immeasurably thankful for the time in which we were able to partner with Rev. Gundermann, sharing the love of Christ. He was a blessing to us all.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
– 1 Corinthians 15:55–57

Vernon Dale Gundermann was the firstborn son of Adolph and Mildred (Dierks) Gundermann, born on October 8, 1937 on the family farm, just southwest of Fulda, Minnesota. He was baptized on Reformation Day, October 31,1937. He renewed those baptismal vows through the rite of confirmation on March 18, 1951.
Pastor Gundermann’s preparation for the pastoral ministry began at Concordia Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota (1955), continued at Concordia College in St. Paul (1957), Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1959), and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (1963).

Vern and Betty (Lorenz) were married on June 25, 1961. The Gundermann family includes Peter Gundermann (Christopher and Daria) and Rikke Davis (Kirk and Joy), Mary and her husband Michael Williams (Elizabeth and fiancé Evan Johnson, Nicholas, and Jackson), Sarah and her husband Michael McCarthy (Hannah, Andrew, and Elena), and Thomas and his wife Amy (Kayla, Noah, and Eva).

During Pastor Gundermann’s years of parish ministry he served:

  • Zion Lutheran Church, Arcadia, Iowa (1963-1967)
  • Calvary Lutheran Chapel and Student Center, Madison, Wisconsin (1967-1973)
  • Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, New Hope, Minnesota (1973-1990)
  • Concordia Lutheran Church, Kirkwood, Missouri (1990- 2006)

Following retirement from parish ministry Pastor Gundermann served as the chaplain at the International Center of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and as Coordinator of Chaplaincy for Lutheran Senior Services.

Throughout his ministry Pastor Gundermann served the Church in many different capacities. Pastor Gundermann served as a speaker at Youth Gatherings, at conferences for the Lutheran Education Association, and at numerous conferences for pastors and teachers throughout the Synod. He has published articles in The Lutheran Witness, devotional writings in Portals of Prayer and HOPE-FULL LIVING, and sermons, liturgies and contributions for various publications. In addition Vern served as a member of the District Mission Boards, Synods’ Low Income Housing Committee and cofounded both the Academy for Christian Stewardship and Pastoral Leadership Institute. Pastor Gundermann served the mission field in Poland, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, and China, as well as his surrounding community.

Vern loved sports. He was a star athlete as a young person, playing baseball, basketball, football and running track. He was heavily recruited as a baseball player and had an opportunity to sign a major league baseball contract with the Chicago White Socks. He chose, however, a life of ministry as a pastor. He loved to play tennis and had several tennis groups throughout his life, largely consisting of his fellow pastors. His love for sports, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals and Green Bay Packers, continued until his final days, often watching a game on television while listening to a different game on the radio.

Vern was a beloved grandfather to his eleven grandchildren. He was always willing to join them in board games, card games, or rounding up teams for touch football or tennis. He cherished opportunities to cheer on his grandchildren in their musical, academic and athletic endeavors.

Pastor Gundermann loved serving the Lord Jesus through the ministry of the Church, and was recognized by many as being a “pastor to pastors.” Vern and Betty were honored to receive several awards in these past years for his service. Among these are the Distinguished Alumni Award and Aeterna Moliri Award from Concordia University, Saint Paul, and the Charis Award from Grace Place Wellness.

On September 9, 2015 Vern was diagnosed with ALS. His faithfulness, determination, and continued service during this past year has been an inspiration to many. The illness, however, was aggressive. Nearly every week Vern was presented with new changes and challenges. On Friday evening, September 16, Vern passed into the loving arms of his Savior, Jesus, surrounded by Betty, his four children, and a few dear friends. He opened his eyes and mouthed the words as his family sang the words to a favorite hymn, “Beautiful Savior.”

Marsha Enchelmaier Joins Lutheran Senior Services as Director of Clinical Resources

marsha-enchelmaierMarsha Enchelmaier, MSN, RN, has joined Lutheran Senior Services and its Center For Clinical Excellence as Director of Clinical Resources. She will be responsible for developing and administering a variety of clinical project support and initiatives across Lutheran Senior Services’ network of senior living communities and its Home & Community Based Services.

She comes to LSS from St. Anthony’s Medical Center, where she oversaw both home health and hospice programs. She has led large and complex clinical departments and has been a clinical innovator in developing new programs. Her background also includes work in hospice, homecare, oncology services, women’s health services and general medical and surgical nursing.

Enchelmaier is President of the Board of the Association of Stroke Coordinators and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor society of Nursing.

Ahoy Matey Open House

Question: Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?

Answer: Because they spend years at C!

Pirate humor rang out across from the port to the starboard side of Lutheran Hillside Village as current residents and potential future residents gathered together for an Ahoy Matey Open House

ahoyThe Mates and Maidens were treated to cookies, mini cheesecakes, éclairs, and drinks (also known as grub and grog). All then received scrolls that led them across Lutheran Hillside Village to view available apartments while learning more about all that Lutheran Hillside Village offers.

And with construction almost complete featuring REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation and additional private apartments for Assisted Living and Memory Care Assisted Living, there’s a lot to know about Lutheran Hillside Village.


Did You Know:

  • 24 Lutheran congregations in Peoria worked together on the beginnings of Lutheran Hillside Village, which broke ground in 1961.
  • In January 1963 residents moved in but the ground breaking ceremony was delayed because of the winter weather … brrrr.
  • Mark Shoopman, LHV executive chef, has a weekly cooking segment on WEEK-TV and every day he, and his team, prepare 657 meals.
  • The Water of Life Chapel was a gift from the Lutheran Women of Greater Peoria. The first service held in the chapel was on Reformation Sunday.
  • The latest groundbreaking features the latest technology from the kitchen to therapy room!

Look for more information coming soon about our upcoming groundbreaking!

Meridian Village Strawberry Festival

A hot Sunday afternoon didn’t deter the celebrations of the Meridian Village Strawberry Festival. Even with temperatures reaching 97 degrees and activities moved indoors, 60 pounds of strawberries were consumed to celebrate one of America’s favorite fruits.

“We were looking for a great activity and what speaks to summer more than fresh strawberries?” said Tammy Williams, Lifestyle Enrichment Director at Meridian Village. “It was very festive and such a joyous way to spend the afternoon.”

Residents and their families, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren, were entertained by musician Paul Jarvis and Wally Davis, nearby a balloon artist fascinated those of any age with his ability to create angel wings, puppies, and flowers.

“We had a strawberry bar with whipped cream, nuts, and sprinkles; everybody enjoyed it. There was so much laughing and picture taking and games. We had such a good time that we’ll definitely do something of the same – but maybe move our festival to the fall so that we can enjoy the outdoors!”

Thank you to all who attended and for all those who helped in creating this great event. Rain, shine, or extreme heat, it’s always a joy to host opportunities for families to gather and celebrate at Meridian Village.

We'd love to hear from you! Located in Glen Carbon, IL 62034, Meridian Village senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Handy Or Want To Be? Meramec Bluffs Reopens Workshop

There is something to be said for having the knowledge to fix a broken chair leg or knowing how to construct something out of nothing. For Independent Living residents at Meramec Bluffs, the reopening of the workshop was the opportunity to continue to hone or begin their handy skills.

“I had a workbench in my house before, like many others who tinkered in their garage or basement,” said Larry Kamberg. “When my wife and I moved to Meramec Bluffs we loved everything about it, especially the maintenance-free living it provides. But I was also looking for a space where residents could continue to create things.”

Working with the Meramec Bluffs, Larry and a number of other residents took the existing workshop and redesigned the space with new workbenches. Residents and the Meramec Bluffs Resident Association donated tools and equipment. It’s available for crafts, metal work, and woodwork. “Really whatever anyone wants!” said Larry.

The workshop officially reopened on July 15 with residents treated to lemonade and cookies. For those who are looking to increase their handiness, the workshop committee is available to give personal demonstrations on how to use equipment and tools.

“The workshop is designed for people who like to tinker,” said Larry. “Maybe you want to put together a sailboat, or sand a table, or make a stool shorter. It’s a place where you can go and use your skills (or learn new ones)!”

We'd love to hear from you! Located in Ballwin, Missouri 63021, Meramec Bluffs senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here

Groundbreaking Ceremony at Lenoir Woods

Lenoir Woods Senior Living Community in Columbia, Missouri held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, celebrating the construction of the Edgewood Apartments. Current residents, future residents, and guests attended to witness the continuation of the history and vision of Lenoir Woods.

“History is all about honoring those who come before us. Vision is about those who will come after us. Today is about both of those things,” said Jake Bell, Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Senior Services. “As we look to the future and the groundbreaking that’s occurring today, it all fits perfectly into our Christian mission of Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest.”

The $22 million new construction of the Edgewood Apartments over the estimated 15 months of construction will result in 79 new independent living apartments and underground parking.

Kent Kirkwood, Executive Director, summed up the aspirations of the Edgewood Apartments. “As the building grows, it will be easy to see progress. Plumbing put in, walls and windows placed, balconies and a roof constructed. But there is so much more to this building then what you’ll physically see. Underneath it all will be the energy in conversation about the future of Lenoir Woods, the new friends made as future residents extend the scope of our family here; the promise of spaces created specifically created for the needs of older adults set against a beautiful woods backdrop. It’s the very spirit of what it means to live life to the fullest at Lenoir Woods that will make the greatest impact.”

To speak to someone on Living Life to the Fullest at Lenoir Woods, call 573.876.5800.

The Lake Pointe Summer Party

While Lake Pointe Senior Living Community awaits groundbreaking, it’s never too early to start celebrating together. Interested future residents gathered together at the Old Hickory Golf Club for a summer party.

“We wanted to create a fun opportunity for those who are interested in Lake Pointe to visit with potential future neighbors, enjoy each other’s company, and have a good time,” said Senior Living Counselor, Julie Jones.

Over 100 people enjoyed a wide variety of hot appetizers and summer time favorites including – grilled shrimp, Maryland style crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, grilled chicken and beef tenderloin cocktail sandwiches, cheese and fruit platters, etc. Dessert included an iced sugar cookie decorated like a flip-flop from a local bakery, Susie G’s.

“This was also an opportunity for us to reveal four exterior architectural renderings of Lake Pointe, depicting the beauty of what Lake Pointe will look like,” said Julie. I think all our guests were impressed and loved having a visual of the exterior apartment balconies, courtyards, and main entrance to the community center.”

Bump, Set, Spike, Splash — Laclede Groves Brings Home the Gold!

Laclede Groves hosted the 2016 Senior Olympics Water Volleyball games with 12 teams participating from various senior living communities. This intense competition has teams practicing throughout the year culminating in one day-long tournament.

“It’s in conjunction with the St. Louis Senior Olympics,” said Marilyn Coplin, Recreation Director at Laclede Groves. “Over 90 events occur every year on Memorial Day weekend and Laclede Groves is proud to have hosted water volleyball since 2008.”

Over 200 participants and spectators gathered to play and cheer on their favorite teams. “Everybody loves it. It bring a huge group of people together and it is so much fun to see the camaraderie and the competition that occurs.”

Laclede Groves got close to a podium sweep, which of course does lead to bragging right for the year as well.

The Laclede Groves Silver Sharks (75+ Age Division, Bracket 2) — Gold
The Laclede Groves Sharks (75+ Age Division, Bracket 1) — Silver
The Laclede Groves Shark Bites (65-75 Age Division) — Gold
The Laclede Groves Junior Team (50-65 Age Division comprised of staff, resident family members, and friends) — Gold




We'd love to hear from you! Located in Webster Groves, MO 63119, Laclede Groves senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, residential care, memory care assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Get your Kicks on Route 66: Destination Walk

Rt66During the month of May, reisdents and staff members of Heisinger Bluffs were walking the historic Route 66 … well not literally. “We wanted to encourage people to get up and move no matter how little they think they do move,” said Ashley Drewel, Helath Services Counselor.

Promoting the benefits of walking, the theme helped motivated residents and staff members to use pedometers to capture the number of steps taken per day. Included also was a Route 66 Trivia Scavenger Hunt which challenged the brain as well while getting steps in. Also included was special speakers, acitvities, and and trips that all encouraged healthy living.

And of course there has to be parties to celebrate. The Kick-off event had Chicago style pizza and the final destination celebration party (Winslow, AZ) featured an oasis themed party with Mexican style foods such as tacos, quesadillas, chips & salsa as well as margaritas, blue punch and beer.

See the Stats from the HB Movement Matters Month:

  • An 84% participation rate during the month of May.
  • 30 people joined us for our Wednesday Walking Group.
  • 32 people competed in the walking challenge with the pedometers.
  • Our top walker in our community walked 388,805 steps or 194 miles.
  • Our residents as a whole walked 1,597,922 steps or 757 miles while our staff walked 1,873,534 or 887 miles for a grand total of 3,471,456 steps and 1,644 miles.
  • Our final destination along Route 66 was Winslow, AZ.

We'd love to hear from you! Located in Jefferson City, MO, Heisinger Bluffs & St. Joseph's Bluffs senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.