Blog from Touchmark Central Office in Beaverton, Oregon

Touchmark Blog

Return To Blog
Touchmark in the West Hills residents Jim Chase and Susan Tolley

Finding Love When You Least Expect It: A Touchmark Resident Feature Story

When people move to a Touchmark community, they can expect to find a social, vibrant lifestyle characterized by engaging events and activities, interest and volunteer groups, health and wellness opportunities, flexible fine dining, transportation, compassionate care, and camaraderie. Sometimes though, love is also waiting in the wings for kindred spirits who find one another. 

Such is the case for Touchmark in the West Hills residents Jim Chase and Susan Tolley. Friends for several years, Susan and a group of their other friends supported Jim through the passing of his beloved wife Mary. Jim and Mary had moved to Touchmark together, but Mary soon needed to move to the memory care neighborhood as her Alzheimer’s diagnosis was progressing swiftly. Mary passed away in 2022, and Jim found himself needing to lean on others for support during this most difficult time. 

Jim says, “Losing my wife hit me hard, but I got some great help from the Touchmark team. They helped me understand I had a life to live, and that I was capable of turning the page, so I became very active in the community. I was elected to the Resident Council and helped in devising and sometimes leading outings for my fellow residents. Soon, I was making new friends and dinner companions.” 

Susan was one of his friends and frequent dinner companions, along with other residents. Jim and Susan quickly realized they had lots in common: they were both retired engineers with similar work backgrounds, had both traveled extensively, and shared many interests.

Jim was actively trying to recruit Susan to one of the Resident Council committees when the two ended up having dinner alone during the 2022 Christmas season, as their other friends were off campus spending time with their families. During that dinner, they found themselves joking about holding hands until it wasn’t a joke anymore and they were simply enjoying holding hands. As they stood to exit the dining room, Jim found himself leaning in for a kiss. Susan says she had about three seconds to decide if she was going to go with it or not, and ultimately decided she was on board. The rest is history and they have been a couple ever since. 

At the time, Susan had been living in a home in the Clubhouse Lodge and Jim had a vineyard home. When the new Sky Lodge addition opened last fall, Susan decided to move there. Jim happened to be talking with a Touchmark team member who said, “You know, Jim, there’s an open home right across the hall from Susan’s new place!” Jim decided this was a great opportunity to be physically closer to Susan, so he moved across the hallway from her new home in the Sky Lodge. The two asked Touchmark Building Services to allow their key cards to work for one another’s homes, so they are frequently seen moving between their two homes throughout the day. 

Jim and Susan both state that they were not looking for love and thought that chapter of their lives was closed. That said, they couldn’t deny their feelings and are happy they opened the door to the possibility of romance with one another. To hear about their story in their own words, visit our Touchmark in the West Hills Facebook page and watch the February KATU segment. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to Jim, Susan, and everyone in the Touchmark family!