Journey Ahead

Chance meeting for Jack Kurrle and Joan Anderson puts couple on new road together

By Susie Steckner

Jack Kurrle has spent a lifetime on the road, cycling from town to town, state to state, coast to coast. Joan Anderson has logged plenty of miles too, faithfully walking every day to stay healthy and fit.

Jack doesn’t know exactly how many times he rode past Joan’s Sun City West home on his daily rides over the years. But he remembers the day they met. Joan was walking down the street and, on a whim, Jack decided to stop and chat. Jack was just in time – Joan was moments away from turning the corner and walking out of view.

“So 10 seconds later and we never would have met,” Joan recalls.

That chance meeting led to a phone call and plans to get together. “And the rest is history,” Jack says.

The couple, both of whom had lost spouses, weren’t looking for love, but found it, and two years later are enjoying a new chapter together.

Both have goals to remain active and fit, and understand the importance of expert and accessible health care in their community. That’s why they are big believers in Sun Health Foundation, which supports a broad range of health and education programs and services in the Northwest Valley.

Jack’s support of Sun Health Foundation includes a charitable gift annuity, which benefits the Foundation and gives him a tax deduction and an income stream for his lifetime.

Not long ago, the couple established plans to provide gifts through their independent estates. In part, this was motivated by the excellent care Joan received recently at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. Joan was sure she was fine that day in May, but Jack insisted she go to the emergency department to be checked. “If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t be here now,” she says. She was very pleased with the communication process in the emergency room through admission and the coordination of specialist tests and doctors.

“We are so lucky to have a hospital in our neighborhood. I can’t think of anything that is more important for this community,” Joan says of Del E. Webb. “It’s just a growing, wonderful place, and to be able to be a part of it and support it is a gift for us.”

Neither Joan nor Jack are content to simply sit around in retirement. Joan spent nearly 30 years at Honeywell/Alliant Tech where she retired as a manager of cost estimating and cost analysis.

When she moved to Sun City West in 1985, she became involved in community activities and also committed to walking a couple of miles every day.

Due to recent health concerns, Joan cut back on walking, but she is working to get back up to speed. “I’m going for 108 years,” Joan says emphatically with a laugh.

Jack enjoyed a long career as a tool and die engineer and had the pleasure of building his family home. In retirement, he took on a volunteer job as a member of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Posse. Cycling has long been a part of Jack’s life, with fun and challenging rides across the country. Today, he averages about 100 miles a week.

The couple’s support of Sun Health Foundation is vital, said Pamela Gralton Kohnen, senior development director.

“The generosity that Joan and Jack have provided to help make sure this care is here for the future is incredible,” she says.

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