By Wesley Homes Des Moines Resident Ed Stanton
Pictured: Norma and Nancy
Did you know that Wesley Homes Des Moines has a set of resident twins? Norma Lamson and Nancy Bedell currently live in The Terrace apartments. Besides being Wesley Homes’ first resident twins, Nancy and Norma also have other remarkable connections with Wesley Homes.
They grew up in Montesano with their parents, V.I. and Ruth Whitney, and older siblings, Berta, J.R. and Margie. Their father was known and admired far and wide for his honorable business of selling General Motors cars in Montesano, Elma, and Aberdeen, even to a number of current Wesley Homes residents.
The Whitney family was active in the Methodist Church, where the Reverend Willard Stanton, a Wesley Homes founder, was their pastor when Nancy and Norma were toddlers. When Wesley Gardens, now known as The Gardens, officially opened in 1954, Reverend Stanton became the administrator of Wesley Homes. Because of their friendship and his respect for the women’s father, Reverend Stanton made sure that V.I. Whitney was made a member of our Wesley Homes Board of Trustees.
Music has always been a central part of the family’s life. V.I. not only was a leader in the Methodist Church but also served as the organist for over 50 years. The twins both sang and played the piano as well as other instruments. Nancy’s college years were at Oregon State University, followed by her years in Bellevue and her work at the Convention Center. After Norma’s college years at College of Puget Sound and University of Washington, she lived in Seattle and Edmonds where she worked at the Community College.
As a result of their family’s knowledge of and respect for Wesley Homes, a number of the twins’ relatives have been residents of Wesley Homes Des Moines. Most recently, their late sister, Berta Hamby, was a resident of The Terrance. Prior to that, their mother, Ruth Whitney Campbell, lived in The Gardens. Their uncle and aunt, Chet and Lois Whitner, as well as their aunt, Blanche Bunch and her daughter, Mary Swiger, have also been residents of Wesley Homes. To top all that, even their grandmother, Mildred Whitney, also lived here! That means Norma, Nancy and Berta are all third generation residents.
After their father died in the 1970s and the wife of an earlier pastor, the Reverend Paul Campbell, had died, Ruth Whitney and Paul Campbell were married and eventually moved to Wesley Homes. This brings in another connection to Wesley Homes’ residents. The twins’ step-brothers have also lived here: the late Marshall Campbell and his wife, Joan, and Arthur Campbell and his wife Peggy Trimble Campbell, who is a current resident of The Terrace.
Peggy’s family members have lived here, too. They include her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Trimble, her late brother, Bob Trimble, and her sister-in-law, Virginia, who have been residents of The Terrace. Also, Virginia and her husband, Kenneth Trimble, had lived on this campus while he was a member of our Wesley Homes staff.
Other third generation residents are Jane Shafer of The Gardens, Blythe Stanton of The Terrace Cottages and Jo Brown’s late husband, Art Brown, of Wesley View. This all sounds as if Wesley Homes is a one-big-family institution, doesn’t it? Who knows what other connections we’d find if we only go back a few generations?