All About Community: Hometown Life, Retirement Living

Gilbert Brown embraces change in address, meeting new people

You could certainly call Gilbert Brown a lifelong resident of Highland Park. 

Save for going to school at the University of Texas, serving in the Navy, a stint at Stanford, and a career start in Shreveport, this 1954 Highland Park High School graduate has spent most of his life in this iconic town.

“I consider myself incredibly lucky,” Brown said. “There aren’t many people who can say they’ve been able to spend this much time in such an incredible community.”

Brown grew up in the era of Eisenhower and Elvis Presley, when suburban expansion defined much of the American ethos. Highland Park and its rich inventory of architecture resembled an aesthetic you might find in the Norman Rockwell archives.

“I remember playing football in the street,” Brown said. “We could basically do whatever we wanted and just knew we had to be home at 6 o’clock for dinner. It was a different time.”

After marrying his high school sweetheart, Brown strayed from the close-knit community of Highland Park to serve in the Navy and pursue academics. Eventually, he landed a job with IBM.

“IBM sent me to Shreveport for five years, and then I was transferred to Dallas,” he said. “After that, I went to work at Interfirst Bank.” 

Brown worked as a systems engineer for years, installing computer systems at the forefront of the information age. Later, he went on to work as an agent at New York Life.

“Going to work in insurance was one of the best things that could have happened to me,” Brown said. “That position afforded me the time to do so many things I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do. I always say, when God closes a door, he opens a window, and you have to just jump inside it.”

His latest jump was to retirement community living, a move made to continue the excitement and satisfaction of his incredibly full life.

Brown and his wife, Linda, chose the faith-based Presbyterian Village North (PVN), just minutes from hometown Highland Park.

“I came out here because I saw how my father lived alone until he passed away,” Brown said. “I had to witness just how lonely he was in the latter part of his life, and my wife didn’t want the same thing for me.”

PVN has provided Brown with a new lifestyle and fresh perspective.

“It’s a community,” he said. “And the benefit of communities is that you get to know people. A lot of us are in the same position, and it’s just nice to have that connection. We have just really enjoyed starting fresh here and are excited for the next chapter.”

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