A Bittersweet Goodbye to Beloved Resident

Taunton Mills bids farewell to Mark Brewer

By Kristian Partington

Most often when team members in a long-term care home say goodbye to a member of their resident family, it’s a solemn time of remembrance where they honour a life lived, and hopefully lived well to the end with the supports of the home.  

Resident Mark Brewer and General Manager Noella Black posing for a photo together
Taunton Mills General Manager Noella Black at a goodbye party for long-
time resident Mark Brewer, who recently moved to live closer to family.

The team at The Village of Taunton Mills recently offered a happier farewell to Mark Brewer, a long-time village resident who moved from Whitby to the small town of Tweed north of Belleville to be closer to his sister.

Mark was in his early 40s when he moved to Taunton Mills and for the past ten years he’s been one of the faces you could always count on seeing. The challenges presented by living with cerebral palsy brought him to the home, and the battle to overcome bouts of sorrow and depression brought him closer to the team that supported him over the years.

In the months leading up to the summer of 2012, general manager Noella Black remembers Mark turning a corner and becoming engaged in village life in a truly positive way. This was the first time Schlegel Villages hosted an organization-wide Schlegel Olympics event, which pitted residents in the villages against each other in a fun and friendly competition to coincide with the London Summer Olympics. Mark began training on the NuStep fitness machine and competed in the main event that summer earning a silver medal and breaking out of his shell in the process.

“That really got his morale up,” Noella recalls. He worked at the general store in the village, kept working out in the fitness centre and competed in the next Schlegel Olympics in early 2014, where he won another medal. All the while his connection to the team and his neighbours grew stronger, yet he still longed for a closer tie to his sister. His name had been on the Community Care Access Centre list for the only long-term care home in Tweed, Moira Place, for quite some time and in February, they called. 

“He was so excited so we did a celebration for him,” says Noella. “Even though he’s left Schlegel Villages, the memory he leaves behind and some of his legacy, as we call it, stays. He had such a positive effect on our village – he’s a part of our life and as a family you have to move onwards.

“It’s a sad, but good story. He left this family to go to his other family, and he will be missed.”