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Gayle adjusts Leonard

Fountain Of Love Offering 2024 - Meet Gayle & Leonard Shults

“I picked her up on a street corner in Flint, Michigan.”

A Love Story

May is Older Americans Month, and as we head into the promotion of the Fountain of Love Fund for Methodist Homes, we would like to introduce you to a loving American couple who lives in one of our Methodist Homes. Meet Gayle and Leonard Shults, residents at Wesley Gardens in Montgomery.

It doesn’t take new staff members and residents long to notice the deep love and respect that Leonard and Gayle demonstrate to one another. They are almost always together, enjoying friends, fun and food. When love is this genuine, it is not difficult to capture photographs of their endearing glances or their innocent kisses. It’s a true love story.

Three picture collage of Gayle and Leonard Shults enjoying life at Wesley Gardens

“I picked her up on a street corner in Flint, Michigan,” Leonard laughs, a joke no doubt told innumerable times during their almost 66-year marriage. Leonard explained that he had just come home from a two-year stint in the Navy aboard a ship. His mother and father had met a young lady named Gayle who needed an escort to a dance.

“I was told, get your tux out and use the car and come up here and take her to this dinner and dance,” Leonard recounted. “There’s a man who will introduce you to her. And so I was there on the corner with that man and she came across the street with a couple of other girls. So I took her from the curb to the dance.”

In the summer of 1957, Gayle was being honored at a benefit in her hometown. Leonard accompanied his parents to the event, and said that they knew right away they were in love. The lovebirds got engaged in September that year. They lived 100 miles apart at that time, but Leonard boasts that he only ever got one speeding ticket. They married the following June. Together they raised three children, and now also enjoy the company of 10 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Leonard Shults served in the United States military for a total of 32 years, with five additional years in the reserves. As his military career wound down, Leonard was very much enjoying leading a Bible study. He wrote home that he was thinking about entering the ministry. Leonard said that Gayle has always been supportive, but Gayle recalls her first reaction to his announcement.

“I told him we would talk about it when he got home. I thought, if you think you’re going to make me a minister’s wife, you’re crazy,” Gayle quipped. “But I never regretted it. We had some good times.”

Leonard served in the pulpit for 32 years in various assignments, and it was when his appointment brought him to Dalraida UMC that the couple was introduced to Wesley Gardens. Gayle was involved as a volunteer in the 90s, during the early days of the Auxiliary. She volunteered for bingo or birthday parties, or whatever was needed.

“I went from volunteering to helping with the push carts. We did not have a gift shop at that time,” Gayle explained. “We had a little push cart that sold candy bars and gum.” After a room became available for a gift shop, Gayle worked there one day a month. But it wasn’t long before Gayle became the inventory shopper as well, and filled the gift shop volunteer list.

While Gayle was volunteering in the gift shop, Leonard started to preach on various Sundays in the chapel area at Wesley Gardens, back before there was a Life Enrichment Center for worship. Leonard also found that he enjoyed adult coloring, and so he began a class at Wesley Gardens.

After retiring officially from the ministry, both Gayle and Leonard felt the need for additional health support. So, in September of 2022, they decided to make Wesley Gardens their home.

Three picture collage of Leonard and Gayle Shults and family

Gayle and Leonard are two among more than 800 people living in one of five Methodist Homes care communities, each person bringing their own unique background and story. And like Gayle and Leonard, most residents will never need the assistance of the Fountain of Love Fund. But for those who do, the Fountain of Love is a lifeline.

Last year the Fountain of Love provided over $383,000 in support to people who would not have been able to remain in the place they call home. This is why we ask for your support of the Fountain of Love Fund, so that we can continue to say, “No one has ever been asked to leave a Methodist Home due to their inability to pay.

Make a Fountain of Love Donation online here.

Order Fountain of Love Offering Materials and Resources here.  

For questions, comments and other requests, call the number above or email the Mission Support Office

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