The Residence at Fitz Farm Continues Tradition of Serving Community
Pittsburgh-based IntegraCare’s new senior living community in York will feature state-of-the-art amenities while also recognizing nearly a century of farming on the land now occupied by the 124,000 square foot facility.
For nearly a century, the Fitz Farm provided fresh produce to people in York and throughout the surrounding region.
Four generations of Fitz family members had owned and farmed the land situated on 16 acres near what now is Interstate 83, and a fifth generation worked on the farm before it was sold. When the Fitz family decided to retire from the farm several years ago, siblings Don, Louise, Robert and Joel all hoped the land would continue to serve the people of York in some manner.
Their wish became a reality, as The Residence at Fitz Farm was built on the property. Set to officially open in April, the IntegraCare-operated community will provide residents independent living, personal care and memory care options.
“Whenever we decided to sell the property, we prayed that it would be a blessing to the community again, just like it was when we were selling produce to the local community through four generations of Fitzes,” said Don Fitz, 72, who still resides in York County when not spending the winter months in Florida.
IntegraCare, which operates 18 senior living communities in three states, wanted to honor the family by using the Fitz name and a four-leaf clover logo, paying homage to the late Marlin Fitz, the third-generation owner of the farm and beloved father of the four siblings who were involved in the transition from farmland to senior living.
“We feel quite honored that the name of the facility bears our family name, but more important I think our parents and grandparents are looking down from Heaven smiling,” said Joel Fitz, 65, who resides in York. “This land has fed people for four generations and now it is going to continue to give back to the community, only in a different way. Dad had always told us, ‘If you are going to do something, do it right and give it your best.’ Our family feels that The Residence at Fitz Farm is doing it right.”
Located at 2200 Springwood Road in York Township, The Residence at Fitz Farm includes 68 independent living, 42 personal care and 20 memory care apartments and will celebrate its official opening in April. The evolution of the newly constructed building could be seen by those who regularly traveled on I-83 over the past year.
“It means a lot to see this senior living community named after our family,” said Louise (Fitz) Veach, 69, of nearby East Berlin. “I don’t know if we can really put it into words. Our lives are so enriched by growing up the way we did — working together on the farm as a family. Our dad, Marlin, our parents, it’s difficult to totally put it into words what they meant to us.”
“Our relationship in our family is special,” Louise continued. “Our lives are so rich because of it. We are the people we are today because of it. Our parents, their personalities, it instilled in us a respect for them. To see their name honored means so much.”
The Fitz Farm legacy is traced back to the early 20th century, when Howard Henry Fitz Sr. and his wife Annie McDowell Fitz purchased the land around 1900, according to Don Fitz, who said at that time the property included approximately 200 acres. Howard Fitz Jr. and his wife, Lestie Myers Fitz, were next in line as proprietors of the Fitz Farm in 1932 amid the Great Depression.
Marlin and Phyllis Fitz purchased the farm from Marlin’s parents. They worked Fitz Farm with their children, Don, Louise, Robert and Joel each pitching in from an early age. In 1978, Marlin sold the farm to his children.
The Fitz Family operated their Eastern Market and Central Market stands in York for decades. The family was known for providing quality produce as well as expertise and advice to benefit customers from throughout the region. In October 2012, the Fitz Family worked their final day at the Eastern Market, marking the end of an era.
“For me, it’s huge to see this piece of property still being used for people’s betterment,” said Robert Fitz, 66, who resides in Cape Coral, Florida. “As a family farm, we were trying to provide food for the community and be a kind group of people.”
“The environment of our farm and our home, we worked around grandpa and grandma all of the time because they lived on the farm,” Robert Fitz said. “The original farmhouse was where my grandpa and all of his siblings were born and raised.”
The Residence at Fitz Farm will honor the family legacy by displaying historic photographs and artifacts throughout the senior living community. The four-leaf clover logo, pays homage to Marlin Fitz, who had a knack for finding the good-luck charm clovers in the field.
“The Fitz family and Fitz Farm both have been such a significant part of life in York and the surrounding region for generations of people,” said Brandi Rendler, Executive Operations Officer at The Residence at Fitz Farm. “Our community is honored to share the name and honor the legacy of this great family.”
An official grand opening at the senior living community is set for April 20, with an open house event planned on April 22.
For more information, visit integracare.com.
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