Meet Kurt Hitke and Lynne Ballard

They met on a tennis court in the mountains near Wytheville and now have been married for nearly 37 years! Who, you say? Why Kurt Hitke and Lynne Ballard, of course. And they have spent the last 30 years or so in Newport News, moving to Sunnyside in August. Here’s a bit about their story –

Kurt grew up in south Florida and received a degree in forest management from the University of Georgia. (Lynne noted that Kurt is 6’7” and never played basketball!) He worked for 35 years in computer programming and data analysis for the NASA Research Center at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. He initially focused on wind tunnel research and, for the last 15 years before retiring, on data analysis from satellites looking back at the earth.

Lynne grew up in Virginia Beach and received her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech. (GO HOKIES!) She then worked as a recreation director at Radford University. After earning a master’s degree in counseling at Old Dominion University, she joined the Hampton counseling services as Assistant Professor at Thomas Nelson Community College and Christopher Newport University. Additional post-graduate work as a reading specialist led her to a position teaching English at TNCC. Lynne also worked as a civilian Personnel Management Specialist at Fort Monroe (Army) for several years.

And how did Kurt and Lynne come to Sunnyside? Well, they did their “homework” in several different ways. For one, researching weather here in the valley helped, as they were tired of the tropical storms coming up the east coast and into Tidewater. In fact, last winter they had a large branch from a nearby tree fall through the roof of their home, necessitating significant cost and repair work. (Thank heavens for the Buildings & Grounds staff available here!)

Also, while doing their online homework on retirement communities near the Virginia mountains, they spent several Staycations at Sunnyside. This sold them on Sunnyside’s beautiful campus and its friendly staff and residents. Sunnyside won hands down over its competitors, although they did enjoy visiting several other mountain communities for comparison.

In addition to traveling back to Newport News a number of times for “small stuff,” Kurt is now enjoying his favorite pastime — reading online, mostly non-fiction focusing on history and investments. Lynne is enjoying line-dancing, singing with the Sunnyside Singers, walking, and swimming in the Wellness Center pool. She loves to travel and meet new people. They are both cat lovers and miss raising their four cat “children”! Stop by and say hello anytime.

Kurt and Lynne, we are so glad you chose Sunnyside, and we extend a warm welcome to you!

--Linda Bradley