Work & Marriage: Spouses at The Villages committed to service and each other

What’s better than working at a job you love? Having a spouse who works with you and is just as passionate. Married employees at The Villages agree the secret to their successful work-life balance is sharing a commitment to enriching the lives of the thousands of children and families The Villages serves each day.

Learn more about our wonderful married couples who share their love with The Villages.

Pictured from left to right: The Barr’s son, Christopher, Carolyn Barr, daughter Simone with granddaughter, Hannah, and Tom Barr.

Thomas and Carolyn Barr

Roles at The Villages: Thomas is a case aid in Marion and Carolyn is a foster/adoption case manager in Anderson.

Years married: 36 years

Thomas and Carolyn have known each other since elementary school, and have always enjoyed spending time together – even on the job.
“We can talk about work in a way that is helpful for both of us because we both work with children and families in a hard place,” Carolyn says.

Serving children and families at The Villages is a cause they both enjoy. Thomas is always excited when children are reunified with their families and Carolyn says her work at The Villages aligns with her mission to improve the lives of children and families.
When away from work, the couple spends their time with family – they have two children and a granddaughter. They also enjoy traveling together.

John and Rachel Stark

John and Rachel Stark

Roles at The Villages: Rachael is a foster care case manager in Marion and John is a clinical director in Fort Wayne, Marion and Anderson.

Years married: 22

Enriching the lives of children has been at the heart of John and Rachael’s relationship from the start. The couple met working at a wilderness survival camp for at-risk teens in Canada. For John, it was love at first sight. Rachael admits it took her a little longer. In the end, John won her over. They now have five children, two grandchildren, 13 dogs, five cats, eight chickens, two mini horses, two goats and a llama!

Rachael admits her commitment to serving children as a foster care case manager often takes time away from family time. Some of her cases require her to work in the middle of the night or Sunday afternoons. But she and John find a way to make it work. “We understand each other’s work load and skill set,” Rachael says.

They make the most of their time together by enjoying date nights and traveling together. They love putting their competitiveness to the test playing board games. A big part of their personal time is spent with family and on their hobby farm.

Rachael and John agree the long days and flexible work schedule are worth it to improve the lives of Hoosier children. “We enjoy working for an organization that fights on all levels for children and their families – biological, foster and adoptive,” Rachael said.

Patrick and Marlene McKinney

Patrick and Marlene McKinney

Roles at The Villages: Patrick is an administrative assistant with Older Youth Services and Marlene was an administrative assistant for Region 5 for 20 years. She is now retired.

Years Married: 48 years

Patrick and Marlene have worked together during most of their professional careers. In fact, the two met nearly 50 years ago while working at the VA Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. When Marlene returned to the workforce after staying home to raise the couple’s three children, she and Patrick worked at the VA Hospital in Fort Wayne. When Patrick retired years later, he started assisting Marlene at The Villages, where they worked together for 16 years.

Both say working together has been a positive experience. “We usually helped each out when we got behind in our work and had something in common to talk about, sharing our frustrations and successes,” Marlene said.

Patrick admits working together had one challenge for the couple: Who was cooking dinner each day!

Working at The Villages has been a rewarding experience for both of them. “I enjoy the challenges that come with the continuous changes,” Patrick said. “I also enjoy working with the variety of personnel throughout the state, even though I have not met many of them (personally).”

The couple enjoys spending time with their sons and five grandchildren and participating in dance aerobics.  Now that Marlene is retired, she volunteers at the couple’s church.

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