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Jack and Kevin

A longtime N­­­­ew Yorker, Jack was born in Northern California in a town of 2,000 people. His father worked for the U.S. Forest Service. “Many of my favorite memories from childhood are about being outdoors,” Jack recalls. “In particular, I’ve always loved being near water. Nothing compares to the ocean.”

Jack’s father often had to relocate for work. So before Jack was ten years old, he had already lived in several parts of the country, from California to New York. “I didn’t like moving around so much when I was a kid,” Jack says, “but I appreciated it later in life when I started painting. Being a nomad taught me how to be somewhere new, to look closely at what’s unfamiliar.”

After serving in the Army, Jack studied painting at the School of Visual Arts in New York. “I was lucky on two counts,” Jack says. “I discovered my passion early in life, and the G.I. Bill covered my tuition.”

After graduating, Jack worked in media and advertising, including a stint at NBC. “A highlight was working with Esther Williams,” recalls Jack. “She loves swimming too.”

But ultimately, Jack found he had a different calling. “My passion is the visual arts—painting, sculpture, fashion, illustration,” Jack says. So he returned to graduate school and eventually became a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he worked for over thirty years.

“I was lucky to find work that I love,” Jack says. “But my life has never been just about work. My partner was the love of my life. We lived together most of my life.”

After Jack’s partner died, he continued to live in their apartment. He grew closer to his neighbors, Mark and Herb. “I don’t know what I’d do without them,” Jack says.

Life Changes

Around ten years ago, Jack developed Parkinson’s disease. The condition affected Jack’s coordination. He’d freeze sometimes when walking, occasionally losing his balance. In 2010, he suffered from a significant fall and was admitted to the hospital.

Mark and Herb, Jack’s neighbors, contacted Renewal Care Partners to plan for Jack’s return home. After discussing Jack’s situation with his medical team, a Care Manager from Renewal arranged for Jack to meet Kevin, a Care Partner who had worked with other clients with Parkinson’s and who is also an artist.