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Semi-retired pastor finds solace in familiarity

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The Reverend Lee Iseley and his wife Jerrianne have called a lot of places home throughout the South and the Midwest. So as they get as close as they likely ever will to retirement, it was only fitting the senior living community they chose is called Monarch Landing.

Iseley, who is semi-retired, serves as interim leader for churches while they search for the right person for the permanent position.

In 45 years of marriage the couple moved 21 times before "landing" in Naperville.

"We wanted to find a spot and just stay there," Iseley says joking, "my next move I hope is to the cemetery."

Iseley says he spends a lot of his time preparing his sermon for Sunday as he is currently filling an interim position in a Wisconsin church.

At 66, Iseley, and his wife 65, are among the "youngsters" at Monarch Landing and he says they have enjoyed getting involved since they moved there in 2008.

"This is a wonderful way to retire," he says. " It's a great lifestyle. You leave when you want to leave and come back when you want to come back."

The maintenance-free life is a good fit, says the pastor, so he can continue his work and Jerrianne can as well. She travels across the country to conferences and retreats speaking about spiritual growth.

Living at Monarch Landing allows them to just pick up and go.

"It's great. You can just turn the key and not have to worry about anything," he says.

Iseley says even in semi-retirement work keeps them busy, but they enjoy time with two of their three grown children who live in the area as well as four of their seven grandchildren. Whenever possible they like to travel to Texas, South Carolina and Arkansas to visit family and friends.

Iseley says Monarch Landing was also enticing because they lived in Naperville in the 1980s while he served as pastor at Naperville Evangelical Free Church. He has been a pastor all of his adult life, following in the family business.

"I was raised by a preacher," he says, adding he made the commitment when he was 19 years old and met Jerrianne while in college.

Cruisin' through life

While the social life was not a main draw of moving to the community, Isley says they have many friends, it has been an added bonus.

"It's like home for us. An extended, larger home," he says. "It's like living on a cruise ship."

Iseley says from the day they moved in the staff knew their names and they participate in lots of educational workshops and social offerings within the community. He says there are no less than 70 groups or activities to participate at any given time. Iseley serves on a sales and marketing committee, offering input from a resident perspective.

He says they really enjoy the dining options from both a food perspective as well as an opportunity to interact with friends and meet new people.

"A person can be here and be as uninvolved as much as they choose or can be doing things seven days a week," he says.

While the community offers plenty to keep Iseley busy he says he and Jerrianne enjoy the surrounding area as well, visiting local restaurants, shops, parks and entertainment.

"Downtown Naperville is just the place to go. There's always something to do in the Naperville area," he says adding Monarch Landing offers shuttles to a lot of the events they enjoy such as Ribfest.

Streamlining

Iseley says they had to "gear down" after moving from a 3,000-square-foot home in Philadelphia where he served as CEO of a missionary agency, to the two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

"It was a freeing experience, a liberating experience getting rid of all the junk we'd accumulated over 45 years," he says.

Despite having found a place to land and settle in, he says he doesn't have any foreseeable plans to move to full-time retirement.

"Preachers never give up, we never retire," he says. "As long as we are strong and have the ability."