We ARE Penn State! Alumnus Soccer Player and His Wife Share their Exciting Collegiate Journey and How They Discovered The Village at Penn State
November 2, 2021
Closely connected to Penn State University (PSU), The Village at Penn State is home to numerous alumni who are thrilled to live just around the corner from their beloved alma mater. For resident of The Village, Ron, Penn State University is especially meaningful because it holds wonderful memories of his athletic career and, of course, because this is the university where he met his wife, Hope.
Ron and Hope have lived at The Village for 18 years and they’ve enjoyed revisiting Penn State’s campus throughout that time. Whether it be for football games, intellectual lectures led by accomplished professors, or for theatre and entertainment, they feel grateful to spend their later years in the beautiful and exciting State College region, where their relationship first began.
“There were many happy times for Ron throughout his experience at Penn State, including playing on the soccer team and going to the Olympics, but I hope he’ll say that the most wonderful thing about Penn State was meeting me,” Hope laughs. “Yes, that was the best part,” Ron agrees.
Becoming a Part of the Team: Ron Joins PSU Soccer Team
While studying at PSU, Ron played on the varsity soccer team for two years. “I had never truly played soccer before and the coach at the time came to watch some of the intramural games that I would play on just for fun. He thought I played pretty good so he came up to me after the game and asked if I’d like to play on the official team,” Ron recalls. “So fall came around and I saw that soccer was starting and I thought to myself, why don’t I give it a try?” he adds. Ron tried out for the team and the coach was thoroughly impressed.
“The coach asked me if I could catch a ball, and I told him yes. He then told me to get in the goal. I didn’t know any of the rules yet but he told me to stop any ball that came my way, and that’s what I did,” Ron explains. Ron began playing Goal Keeper for the PSU team and during his first season, the team finished undefeated. “The first Goal Keeper would play the first half of the game, and I would play the second half,” he explains referring to his teammate.
Excited about being part of the team, the State Department sent the PSU soccer players on a Good Will tour to Iran in 1951. “Maybe that was the highlight of his collegiate career,” Hope says lightly. “No it was meeting my wife,” Ron chuckles.
Joining the Air Force and Attending the 1956 Olympics…
With an exciting athletic career, after graduation, Ron decided to join the U.S. Air Force. “It was only four days after graduation that I joined. I was in the Air Force for 23 years and 4 days,” Ron reflects. “I was a pilot flying tanker aircrafts for the mid-air refueling of jet bombers. I was flying all over the world," he notes.
Traveling far and wide to serve his country, while enlisted in the Air Force, Ron also became a player on the U.S. Olympic Soccer team. Quite an accomplishment, Ron was prepared to play in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. On their way to the Olympics, the team completed a tour of the Far East. It was then that Ron endured an uneventful injury.
“One of our stops on the tour was Hong Kong. While I was playing there, I broke my ankle,” Ron explains. “That was right before the Olympics and so I didn’t get to actually play in Melbourne, but I was lucky enough to travel with the team and be there,” he recalls.
As Ron returned to his career in the Air Force, Hope help raised their four sons back home, living in many places throughout the years. "While flying all around the world, I had to spend a lot of time away from my family,” he says.
"We moved around a lot. By the time we moved to The Village it was our 20th home since we’ve been married,” Hope shares. Hope is originally from the State College area, and as their later years approached, the couple knew it would be a wonderful place for their retirement. When they first discovered that The Village was being built, they knew this community was perfect for their future.
Moving to The Village at Penn State
Living in the community for 18 years, Hope and Ron have thoroughly enjoyed the many friendships they’ve made. “We’ve met so many wonderful people since moving here. The residents who live here and the people who work here are just spectacular,” Hope affirms. And Hope especially enjoys the community’s five-star dining. “With four sons who were all football players at Penn State, I did a lot of cooking throughout the years,” she notes. “The food here is fantastic and it’s just so nice that I don’t have to worry about cooking every night,” she says.
In addition to their many friendships and gourmet meals, Ron and Hope have of course enjoyed being so close to the university they know and love. “We’ve gone to football games, shows, lectures, and more for years. We’d just hop on the Village’s bus and we’re there,” Hope shares. “Now that we’re a bit older we watch the games on TV, but it’s still great fun…and much cheaper,” Ron laughs.
For Hope and Ron, living at The Village also means having the comfort and security of long-term care. “Ron’s mother used to live in a memory care community and she suffered from dementia. Our children are scattered all across the country, so we wanted to live in a place that we know we’d be taken care of throughout our lifetime,” Hope explains.
“At The Village we have no worries. Everything is taken care of for us. And our children don’t have to worry about us either. They are thrilled that we live here,” Ron expresses. “When they first visited, they were amazed at how gorgeous this community is,” Hope adds. Living a worry-free, convenient lifestyle in beautiful State College, Ron and Hope continue to enjoy all that The Village has to offer.