At 92, Peter Schelkun isn’t quite ready to commit to a full and complete retirement. A resident of Eastcastle Place senior living community in Milwaukee, Schelkun hops in his car twice weekly, heading to Marquette University Dental School, where he is an adjunct professor.
Schelkun served in the Navy during World War II and planned to go to medical school upon his return. However, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. “When I came back to Milwaukee after a total of eight years in the Navy, I decided that medical school and a residency would take too long. Instead, I decided to go into dentistry.”
Schelkun graduated from Marquette in 1956, and was in private practice for the next 50 years, 45 of which he was also on staff at St. Mary’s Hospital. When he turned 70, Schelkun decided he wanted to retire, while “continuing to do something” with his life. “I couldn’t see myself playing bridge every day or playing golf every day or fishing every day. Instead, I decided to go to work at Marquette University School of Dentistry and have been a part-time adjunct professor of dentistry ever since,” he said, “Currently I’m in clinical instruction, working directly with students.”
Schelkun takes pride in his alma mater. “It’s very modern, and has a wonderful curriculum and wonderful facilities. We built a new building and included everything we could think of.”
Schelkun said that he never really thought ahead about what he’d be doing at this stage of his life, so is not surprised to be working at 92. “As things come up I just do them. I didn’t know when I was younger, that I’d be as fortunate as I am. At my age, I’m functioning great, I’m teaching, and very active and it’s all good,” he said.
Schelkun said that he and his late wife Millie had visited Eastcastle Place before she died. “Together, we decided that Eastcastle Place would be a perfect home for us. She was an attractive woman and a wonderful mother, wife and companion, and a talented nurse and surgical supervisor. She had lots of hobbies and would have been very active here,” he said.
Schelkun has found that Eastcastle Place offers countless opportunities, while eliminating the responsibilities of housekeeping and maintenance. “The food is really good. And last week, I needed three lightbulbs in my apartment changed, and the staff here did that promptly,” he said. “When I decided, I was ready to move from my five-bedroom home in Whitefish Bay, I looked at seven different retirement communities but it was clear right away that Eastcastle Place was the friendliest and most beautiful and unique. And of course, Eastcastle has the best location by far. We’re two blocks from the lake. I walk there, I go to Downer Avenue where there are stores and theaters. Everything is convenient and within walking distance. It’s a marvelous place, with so many nice people living here. And there are so many activities to become involved with if you want. Eastcastle Place is remarkable. You can be as busy as you want to be…or as much of a couch potato as you want. No one is pushing you but there are many opportunities to be involved. If you don’t do anything, it’s because you don’t want to.”
Schelkun said that he is thankful for his good fortune in all aspects of his life. “My whole life has evolved into nice things and now I’m living in a nice home with nice people. Life has been remarkable for me.”
Eastcastle Place is a Life Plan Community located on Milwaukee’s vibrant East Side. Eastcastle Place offers independent living, promoting an active and engaging lifestyle for seniors. The Health Center at Eastcastle Place offers assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, thus providing complete continuing care for seniors. Eastcastle Place is managed by Life Care Services®. For additional information call 414-219-1398 or visit www.EastcastlePlace.com.