Don Johnston grew up in the small railroad town of Alpha, Illinois—population 550. As the son of a hardware store owner who also had a contracting business, Don remembers having lots of power tools around. At a young age, he had his own workbench and used an old Craftsman bandsaw to make toy paddleboats. His love of woodworking progressed from there.
As time went on, Don met his wife, Sue, and graduated from The University of Illinois with a degree in engineering. Eventually, they settled in La Grange with their son. They bought an old Victorian that was built in 1877 by Franklin Cossitt (the founder of La Grange) for his daughter. Don’s woodworking soon focused on repair and restoration of their historic home. Don and Sue enjoyed 48 years in their home before embarking on the next chapter in their life. That’s when they chose The Landing at Plymouth Place (our main building).
Since moving into Plymouth Place several years ago, Don has pursued his passion for woodturning and is a fixture in our expansive, resident woodwork shop. Just shy of 1000 square feet, this impressive space includes a full range of stationary power woodworking equipment connected to a central dust collection system. New residents are encouraged to discuss adding their favorite tools, as Don did.
One of Don’s most notable projects here involved trees from our East campus which were removed to make way for The Arboretum Villas at Plymouth Place—our new, luxury senior living community in La Grange Park for adults 62+. Don and a friend realized they shouldn’t miss the opportunity to convert some of that wood into souvenir bowls for residents.
“Bowls are a staple for woodturners,” said Don. “For me, the most fun is turning bowls from green (unseasoned) wood. The product is available in weeks, if not days of when the tree comes down.”
Whether you choose The Landing or The Arboretum Villas at Plymouth Place, you’ll enjoy a vibrant lifestyle where you can pursue your passions and discover new interests. Our entire campus is connected by enclosed walkways and residents can choose from over 100 activities and events each month like performances by members of the Lyric Opera or themed dinner parties with complementary live music.
“Having lived near Plymouth Place for many years, we thought we were pretty familiar with what it had to offer,” said Don. “However, after we moved in, we were surprised with the depth and variety of the entertainment and activities. There’s a lot of things to do including working on committees. You feel like you are making a contribution.”
They were also impressed by our staff. “There’s a lot of smiling and greeting that goes on,” said Don. “They are incredibly competent and happy. When you encounter someone in the hallway, there’s a smile and a hello. It’s really welcoming.”
Are you ready to live without limits? To learn more about the Arboretum Villas or The Landing at Plymouth Place, simply give us a call at (708) 634-4112 or fill out the form below. We’ll help you find the home that is just right for you!
If you’re interested in woodturning, let us know. We’ll be happy to introduce you to Don!