The Villages - May 2018 - 38

Good nEiGhborS
Ed & KathlEEn Schlaff
faithful Servants

On a sultry day in 2011, Sandi Madsen hauled 80 empty
boxes into her new garage. She and her husband, Jeff, had
driven from Minnesota to Florida to close on their home, but
Jeff had a month's worth of work to get back to before he
could officially retire. He hopped on a plane while Sandi got
settled into their Village of Duval residence.
"I had stayed up until 3:30 in the morning, unpacking,"
she said, "until my dog, Gracie, and I collapsed on the
unmade bed."
The next day, Sandi got started again. Exhausted but
determined, she stood in the garage scrutinizing the stack
of cardboard and deciding how she might flatten and secure
the load for the recycling truck.
"That's when I met Ed," she said.
Sandi already had received a card on her door containing
a welcoming message from one neighbor, and a plate of
warm cookies from another. Ed Schlaff did not come bearing
gifts. Instead, he offered something better - a hand.
"He took one look at the wardrobe-size boxes and got to
work breaking them down and tying them up," she said. "Ed
is a man of few words."
Madsen soon discovered the other Schlaff - Ed's wife,
Kathleen, who is equally kind and giving.
"The two are just old-fashioned nice," she said. "You
never have to fear having to ask them for help. They are lowkey, enjoyable people. They aren't the life of the party, but
they are people you definitely want at the party."
Michigan natives, Ed and Kathleen came to The Villages
eight years ago after Ed retired from a career with Detroit
Diesel.
Both the Schlaffs and the Madsens attend social functions
in their neighborhood.
"There's so much to do with the Day Lily Run social
group," Madsen said. "There are regularly scheduled
events- luncheons for women, trips to various restaurants,
golf groups, even crab festivals on the water. When
we moved here, we fell into this circle of ready-made
friendships, but Ed and Kathleen stand out."

Sandi Madsen with
Ed and Kathleen Schlaff

With faith being the framework of their lives, the Schlaffs
stay active in their church. Through the REC (Residents
Encounter Christ) Ministry, the couple helps prepare meals,
provide entertainment and host visits with residents in jail.
"Lives are being changed," Ed said. "For seven years
we've been doing candlelight services with battery-operated
candles - it's very moving."
Through frequent visits, the Schlaffs have established a
rapport with jail staff as well.
"They told me if I don't bring the 'jailhouse dressing'
(a savory strawberry salad dressing), they may put me on
lockdown," Kathleen joked.
Prior to his cancer diagnosis, Ed also volunteered at the
Wildwood Food Pantry, an outreach that provides food to
local families in need.
And while health limitations may have slowed him, they
have not stopped Ed from spreading kindness, sharing jokes
and being neighborly.
"Neighboring is a two-way street," he said, "and Sandi
and Jeff have been good neighbors too."

" Y o u n E v E r h av E t o f E a r h av i n G t o a S K t h E m f o r h E l p. t h E Y a r E
l o w - K E Y, E n j o Ya b l E p E o p l E . t h E Y a r E n ' t t h E l i f E o f t h E p a rt Y,
b u t t h E Y a r E p E o p l E Y o u d E f i n i t E lY wa n t at t h E p a rt Y. "
- Sandi Madsen

38

MAY 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Villages - May 2018

Contents
The Villages - May 2018 - Cover1
The Villages - May 2018 - Contents
The Villages - May 2018 - 1
The Villages - May 2018 - 2
The Villages - May 2018 - 3
The Villages - May 2018 - 4
The Villages - May 2018 - 5
The Villages - May 2018 - 6
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The Villages - May 2018 - Cover4
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