Sponsored by St. James Place
Every evening for 24 years, George Sells shared the news desk alongside Donna Britt, bringing the nightly news to the Capitol region. The anchor job with WAFB brought him to Baton Rouge back in 1988, and when George finally decided to call an end to his illustrious career as an anchor in 2015, he and Sandy, his wife of 48 years, moved to St. James Place, leaving their longtime home overlooking the pristine golf course at the Country Club of Louisiana.
When looking forward to retirement, George and Sandy had never really given much thought to a Life Care community. George recalls the conversation with his financial consultant as they began to plan their golden years. “I think he could just see what was coming better than I could, and he knew that St. James Place was right for us,” George says.
They packed their home and wonderful memories as they eagerly prepared for the next chapter of life; but nothing could quite prepare them for what was to come. Just 27 days after moving into SJP, George suddenly lost his wife Sandy. “I knew that she was starting to develop dementia, but physically she was relatively healthy.”
In the shadow of tragedy, George found hope and comfort in his new community. In a new place surrounded essentially by strangers, the St. James Place community rallied around George to share his burden, extending their hearts to ease his grief. From friendly “hello’s” in the hallway, to invitations for meals and grief-share meetings, the entire community—staff and residents alike—extended their hearts to George.
“I felt these arms, from both the staff and the residents, come around me at a time when I needed it most,” he recalled. “I just remember those great big arms hugging around me when she died. And you’re not going to get that anywhere else.”
George is forever grateful for the way the community embraced him, saving him from his natural tendency to withdraw and encouraging him to be social, outgoing and share in life with his fellow residents. “If Sandy had died [before the move], I would have stayed in that lonely house and turned inward.”
In 2019, George married Patti Pattison. “Not wanting to make a big fuss”, George and Patti held their ceremony in the St. James Place parlor during happy hour, surrounded by their dear friends in the St. James Place community.