Life after farming: Bill and Maxi Adams

| Couple is feeling at home at Lake Howard Heights |

Bill Adams grew his citrus nursery business into one of the largest in the state — until canker decimated the industry and agriculture officials ordered his trees burned. “When the canker problem struck the industry (in the mid 1980s), I was doing very well in the citrus nursery business,” the 87-year Eagle Lake native recalls. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]

Adams Citrus Nursery, which was east of Haines City at one time, shipped as far as Saudi Arabia. Adams grew seedlings in cardboard cylinders before transplanting them to containers where they would grow to be four feet tall.

But then came canker, a bacterial disease that did not harm people or other animals. He turned to growing ornamentals until things improved. “I was not afraid to work … I never wanted to waste any effort,” Adams says.

After selling his acreage several years ago, Adams is living the retired life in Winter Haven, with regular trips to his office where he reads The Wall Street Journal and keeps track of investments.

Earlier this year, he and his wife Maxi moved into Lake Howard Heights, the Boston Red Sox’s old spring training facility that was converted into senior living quarters. Widowed twice, Adams met Maxi a few years ago when she and a couple of other ladies were modeling women’s clothing for Helen’s Boutique in Winter Haven at a restaurant. “I think it was kind of divine intervention,” says 94-year-old Maxi. “He said I did a little twist that caught his eye.”

Although she was reluctant at first because of her age, she decided if the relationship was right, God would let her know. “We each had the companionship the other one needed,” she says, “We’re both happy.”

After learning about Lake Howard Heights, the couple decided to move to the 11-story high-rise owned by Senior Lifestyle Corp. at 650 N. Lake Howard Drive It offers independent and assisted living units to residents 62 years old and up. Amenities include an in-house doctor, in-house physical therapy, in-house beauty and barber services, transportation to doctor’s appointments and shopping, Sunday movies, and Friday happy hour with beer and wine.

“There is nothing like the sunset on Lake Howard. The lakefront views are absolutely gorgeous,” says Executive Director Glenda Hanley. “I think what really sets us apart is our focus on hospitality.” In the kitchen, cooks prepare home-cooked meals on a five-week menu cycle, including steak and lobster, fried chicken, fried catfish, and fresh-baked scones. “We try to meet the preferences of each resident individually as best as we can,” she adds.

Adult children know Lake Howard Heights is a safe and secure place for mom and dad, so they can have peace of mind, she points out. Senior Lifestyle, one of the nation’s leading senior living specialists, sets the tone with a home-like and friendly atmosphere that filters down through the staff to the residents themselves. “We want it to be warm and welcoming to them,” Hanley says.

So Bill and Maxi have moved in with their antiques, ready to relax and take things a bit easier. “She said, ‘I won’t have to wash dishes anymore,’ ” Adams recalls. “He likes it here and I like it here,” adds Maxi. “I don’t have to prepare dinner anymore,” she conveys about her freedom to live an easier life. “That’s been a wonderful thing.”


story by CHERYL ROGERS [/emember_protected]

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