Love & Friendship Stories:
Berkeley Square Residents since 2015
Paul and Marion began their love story in 1954 as dates to a school dance, and have been in sync ever since, through their almost sixty-five years of marriage. The Thoms home is filled with welcoming tones, original Marion Thoms paintings, bookcases filled with decades of memories, and inviting seating where anyone could get lost in conversation for hours. A home office that houses Paul’s keyboard, offers visitors a glimpse into how their family has grown over the decades with three large family portraits beginning with thirteen people in the first and ending with over forty in the most recent photo taken at Berkeley Square. Through music, art, family, and tradition, the love Paul and Marion have for each other is a masterpiece they have perfected since they first met.
The Thoms have called Berkeley Square home for seven years, and enjoy being very active within the community along with the City of Hamilton. Marion has taken her exquisite talent for creating art to the residents of Berkeley by teaching painting classes and Paul has been involved with the Fitton Center for Creative Arts. The arts whether it’s visual, music, or performing have played the leading role in the Thoms' life and are one of the secrets to their marriage, “we have had shared interests our whole lives,” Marion shares. From shows at the Ensemble Theater in downtown Cincinnati to Paul directing Fairfield High School’s choir, to Marion creating in her home art studio, this couple enjoys life to the fullest.
“I don’t want to be a person who does nothing,” Marion shares when referring to her hesitation when they began looking into a retirement community. Once the perfect home on Patriot Crescent was available, with its large sunroom, three bedrooms, and finally: a two-car garage (they lived without one for over forty years), Marion and Paul were ready to begin their next act at Berkeley Square. “We enjoy the happy hours, buffets, and the trips,” both agree and share how even with the obstacles of moving gatherings outside, block parties, and other out of the box events that require staff creativity, they’ve remained impressed with the good spirits during the last two years.
With the arts being one huge part of their lives, the Thoms also love sharing stories about their family, and how traditions their family of four started years ago, continue to live on with their great-grandchildren. “We have twenty-six great-grandchildren,” Paul shares beaming. With such a huge family, there is never a shortage of fun at holiday gatherings including every single family member receiving a stocking from Paul and Marion, “we were doing thirty-five stockings!” Each stocking would be filled with “fun, silly stuff” that had been curated throughout the year, and matched each family member’s hobbies and humor. This same tradition is carried on by their grandkids who live in Utah, serving brunch on Christmas day and passing out stockings just like their grandparents did for them. Most recently when getting ready to log into a Zoom call with family, the Thoms were in for a surprise, “the doorbell rang, and that family was there,” Paul shares of a truly magical Christmas when their grandson and his family were on their doorstep and not on the screen.
Paul and Marion’s extended family is who they hold closest in their hearts and are proud to share stories of every single member to anyone who will listen. Being the pillars of their entire family, the Thoms enjoy seeing how their marriage continues to reach each generation through continued traditions by every single family member.
The first date to a costume party, costume jewelry admiration turned engagement ring, a small hometown church wedding with a choir from the University of Kentucky, and a jazz festival honeymoon at French Lick resort, Paul and Marion have been the stars of their own romance story since the fifties. Their secret? “Consideration of the other person and shared interests,” Marion shares and without hesitation expresses her favorite things about Paul are “his smile, sense of humor, and his love for me.” Paul adds how Marion is “always supportive of me and she is always in style, in terms of how she lives her life.” The Thoms are easy to admire for their dedication to the arts, their community, and most of all their family. When they fell in love with Berkeley Square, it was easy to fall in love with them right back.