Longtime Parkvue Leader Retires, Welcoming Back Former Colleague

Ken Keller retired as administrator effective Dec. 15 and Dan Miller was named the new executive director. Over the first quarter-century of Parkvue’s existence, Ken has been a strong leader and friendly face at Parkvue and throughout United Church Homes.

Ken began his tenure with United Church Homes in 1989 when he worked in the Central Office Human Resources Department under former Vice President of Staff Relations Timothy P. Hackett.

From August 1990 through October 1994, Ken was the administrator at Fairhaven Community. This was followed by spending time at both Fairhaven and Parkvue in the later portion of 1994 and 1995. Dan said Ken, who has a natural ability to lead, has been an excellent mentor for him over the years. Ken said it was a pleasure to collaborate with Dan during that transition as a team-oriented colleague.

Parkvue Place opened in 1992 with 87 independent living apartments, celebrating 25 years in 2017. Parkvue Health Care Center opened in the spring of 1995.

Parkvue was a new campus that originated with the vision of Ruth Frost Parker, an Erie County resident, former United Church Homes Board member and the largest single benefactor in its more than 100-year history. As early as 1995, Ken learned of Ruth’s dream to add a state-of-the-art Aquatic Center at Parkvue. Over many years and multiple capital projects, Ruth’s dream was fulfilled with the dedication of the Aquatic Center on April 7, 2016. Even after her death in February 2015, United Church Homes continued to implement her ideas, including renovations at Parkvue Place and the memory care neighborhood, known as Follett Court, of the healthcare center. Most recently, UCH embraced another of Ruth’s visions at the Parkvue campus by initiating the first of three phases to add 44 independent living cottages.

Ken said United Church Homes’ senior leadership shared Ruth’s vision for a life plan community in Erie County and they became collaborators on many projects, including the development of apartment homes for older adults at Parkvue Place to a full-service campus.

“Ruth had a deep sense of caring and wanting to help and fill needs for the older population in the area,” Ken recalled. “Because of her idea and support, we were able to expand the original plan for Parkvue to add skilled nursing with a special area for memory care. It’s now evolved into a true life plan community. United Church Homes’ mission of creating and enabling abundant living was a perfect match with Ruth’s visions.”

“It’s been fun to develop that culture of family, hospitality and teamwork,” Ken continued. “As hard as it was for me to leave Fairhaven, I saw an opportunity to be closer to my wife’s family and a professional opportunity to start a new community. What a challenge and opportunity!”

“There is a great amount of longevity with the team at Fairhaven and Ken has built a similar team from the ground up at Parkvue,” Dan said.

Dan’s father, John Miller, was the administrator and chaplain at Fairhaven from 1973-77. Dan grew up within its walls, spending first through fourth grades living nearby and joining his dad to visit residents. During his final semester at what then was Heidelberg College (now Heidelberg University), Dan accepted a part-time internship at Fairhaven.

“It was like coming home,” he said. “I spent a lot of time there as a kid. There’s a great sense of community and care.”

Dan worked seven months at Trinity Community in Beavercreek, Ohio, while finishing the administrator-in-training program and received his license in March 1991. He also spent time at Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio.

After 18 years at Fairhaven, he resigned in 2012 and accepted a position with another organization. But Dan said he always knew he wanted to return to the United Church Homes team.

“United Church Homes is very innovative and keeps on the leading edge,” he said. “There is a family atmosphere here and I also appreciate the Christian orientation through the affiliation with the United Church of Christ. I see a lot of similarities between Fairhaven and Parkvue including the closeness of the staff. Ken has done a wonderful job here, building that.”

Ken said he has appreciated the opportunity to develop deep relationships at Parkvue and execute “good-hearted” visions.

“The staff has become like family,” Ken said, tearing up. “I’ve watched the kids of the staff grow up. The staff was very dedicated, caring and hard working. They are very committed to enabling abundant living, and embrace a culture of hospitality. They have become my colleagues and I will miss them. I’m happy that it’s Dan who is following me. I am confident Parkvue is in good hands. If Ruth were still here, I know she’d be happy.”

Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, said Ken led the organization through many changes.

“He was forward-thinking and progressive in his leadership,” Rev. Daniel said. “I’m proud of him and what he has done at Parkvue.”

Chuck Mooney, senior vice president of Senior Living Services and chief operating officer at United Church Homes, explained Dan’s position is executive director, a new title that reflects the community’s transformation in recent years to a life plan community offering a full continuum of care, housing options and hospitality services.