For decades “Sister” Marilyn Hopkins has shared the Gospel message by example, living a simple life in Central Ohio while sharing her income with the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity.
“I’m still ‘Sister,’ responsible to the Order,” said Hopkins, who at one point in her life was director of radiology at St. Ann’s Hospital. “When I was working, my salary would go to the Order. Even now my Social Security goes to them and they send an allotment back.”
But Hopkins, a Columbus native who had lived in or near Whitehall since 1980, faced a major challenge when her birth sister Joanne Distelzweig, whom she had been living with, passed away in 2013
Short term, she rented a duplex in north Bexley from a nephew. But she needed something more affordable. On April 1, 2015 she moved into Eastway Court in Whitehall, brand new 661-foot one-bedroom, one-bath apartments renting for $470 a month.
She had seen construction of Homeport’s 66-unit Eastway Village senior community at 4237 East Broad Street, but was not familiar with it. Then she read of its grand opening.
While the apartments had been rented out, she learned of a neighboring second phase yet to be built – Eastway Court.
Hopkins listed her name with the property management company used by Homeport. Of the 200 applicants, she was able to lease one of the 32 apartments that became available spring 2015.
“I wanted to stay in this end of town so it is very fitting they built this place for me,” she joked.
Hopkins still drives a car but many of her neighbors benefit from a COTA bus line on East Broad Street. They are even close enough to walk places, like for ice cream at the UDF at Yearling Road.
The apartments provide sufficient living space and are easy to clean and keep clean, she said. The property is well maintained and has a lush appearance with a pond and gazebo and outdoor seating on a patio.
“I don’t think I could ask for anything more. I have no complaints. The people are nice. It’s well taken care of,” she said.
And she recognizes that demand far exceeds affordable senior living facilities like hers.
“There is a great need for it,” she said. “I think it is a great necessity. I certainly appreciate what they have done for me. It’s been a great help.”