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Couple found place to ‘settle down’ at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor

Audrey and Duane Mortensen spent their working years and the period shortly after retirement moving all over the Midwest.

“Duane worked for Deere and Company his whole career, right out of college, and retired with over 30 years,” Audrey said. “Then when we started retirement, we’d spend a few years here and there, and then decided we should settle down.”

When their daughter left New York City to start her own business in Lawrence, they decided that might be the perfect place.

“We found out that we could find another way of living when our daughter moved,” Audrey said. “Our other kids are in Indiana and Chicago. We thought we might as well leave southern Missouri where we had no ties.”

That was 11 years ago.

“We tried to find a place that had a lot of activities,” Audrey said. “We’re not in a big city, but we’re near one. We’re not in the country, but we’re near it — we’re both country people. We just drive west and we’re there.”

Moving to Lawrence was an easy choice, Audrey said. She and Duane knew people who had lived here, and no one had anything bad to say about the community. They also drove around the campus beforehand and saw all the activity.

Now that the world is returning to normal, Duane and Audrey are enjoying some of their regular activities again.

“I’m a great bingo fan,” she said. “We like to go walking, and since we live in a duplex, we walk all over. If you walk around about 8-10 times, you’ve gone a mile — and it’s better than a treadmill. I just like to visit my friends at the Manor, and they will have a lot more activities now for people to participate in. The activities director is so good — she’ll set up to go visit some place, and it’s very entertaining. We enjoy being part of the whole PMMA system.”

Travel has been a big part of Audrey and Duane’s life as well.

“We’ve been to every state in the union except Alaska and Hawaii,” Audrey said. “We like to travel. Now that we’re both past 90, people ask when we’ll slow down. I say, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’”

Though the past year has been a challenge and limited the ability to get out and visit others, Audrey said they are enjoying the chance to choose from multiple activities on any given day.

“When we get our weekly newsletter from the Manor, we look and see what’s happening. Sometimes we have to choose between a couple of things. As long as we can both drive and have our licenses, there are so many activities around here. I do like to go downtown.”

But there’s also plenty to keep the couple busy at home as well — be it the activities, the woods behind their home, or working through a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

“We really enjoy it here at the Manor. Our place is as big as some of the houses we’ve had, and I have plenty of room for whatever I want to do, and I can go for a walk if I feel stifled inside,” Audrey said. “We have a nice deck, and I just put some cherry tomatoes out there. We go to the Manor for our noon meal, and we don’t have to do the dishes. We’re just thrilled with the place.”

If you would like to learn more about the carefree lifestyle at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, contact Chris Phelps at 785-841-4262 or

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