Shipley Center leaders, Michael Smith, executive director, and Margaret Cox, board president, cut a cake to celebrate the senior center’s 50th anniversary serving Sequim.

Shipley Center leaders, Michael Smith, executive director, and Margaret Cox, board president, cut a cake to celebrate the senior center’s 50th anniversary serving Sequim.

Shipley Center celebrates 50th anniversary with food and fun

Fifty years to the day Sequim pioneers signed off on the incorporation of the Senior Citizens Center of Sequim, Shipley Center leaders celebrated the May 27 milestone with live music, free food, and a lot of conversation and smiles.

Whether members attend for art, exercise, games, trips and/or any number of reasons, Sequim’s seniors continue to make the center a focal point for people’s golden years.

Margaret Cox, the center’s board president, said she’s attended since 2005, filled in as president in July 2006 and has served on the board in some capacity ever since.

“Between church and the senior center, it’s a place where I spend a lot of my retirement,” Cox said. “I love helping others even if it’s indirectly through creating programs at the center.”

Sequim resident Mary Bell said she’s been at the center everyday for at least 10 years for an array of things, such as using the computer, and attending various activities and meals.

“I’m looking forward to everything coming back fully,” Bell said.

Executive Director Michael Smith said most activities are back aside from close-together card and board games, which will be reintroduced in the near future.

Center member Brian Sullivan said he’s happy to be back on trips. He’s gone with the center for more than seven years on 183 excursions, including Silverdale last week and Salt Creek the week before.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic there was a 14-month gap between trips, he said.

Sullivan said the farthest he’s traveled was to the Oregon Coast.

“There are a lot of nice people,” Sullivan said. “It’s a day away and a good opportunity to get away from the garbage in people’s lives.”

As someone with his commercial drivers license for 37 years, Sullivan said drivers always “keep their cool and encounter a lot of situations.”

Through its 50 years, the center started in the basement of the old Sequim Presbyterian Church, moved a few times, had its name changed a few times before currently settling in at 921 E. Hammond St.

It’s now known as Shipley Center, to honor longtime member and benefactor R. Leo Shipley. In honor of the 50th anniversary, The Café at Shipley Center has been renamed Leo’s Café.

Center leaders say they are closing in on seeking permits to build a Health & Wellness Annex adding 6,460-square-feet, too.

Cox said the pandemic impacted the center, like most people, but membership and usership has been building up again. In her balance class, she said “everyone is excited to be back even with masks and social distancing.”

For more information about Shipley Center, visit shipleycenter.org or call 360-683-6806.

Mike Bare, on left, leads a group of ukulele players for Shipley Center’s 50th anniversary in a number of tunes that encouraged audience members to sing-along. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Mike Bare, on left, leads a group of ukulele players for Shipley Center’s 50th anniversary in a number of tunes that encouraged audience members to sing-along. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Kurt Engel, chef and cafe manager for the recently rebranded Leo’s Café at Shipley Center, grills hot dogs for participants of the center’s 50th anniversary on May 27. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Kurt Engel, chef and cafe manager for the recently rebranded Leo’s Café at Shipley Center, grills hot dogs for participants of the center’s 50th anniversary on May 27. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Shipley Center executive director Michael Smith, left, gives a tour of the center to Cassandra Cockrill and Jeff Ramanis. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Shipley Center executive director Michael Smith, left, gives a tour of the center to Cassandra Cockrill and Jeff Ramanis. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Michael Smith, Shipley Center executive director, shows off a cake topping made by program director Shamya Waters for the center’s 50th anniversary. She makes cake toppers under her business Living Waters. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Michael Smith, Shipley Center executive director, shows off a cake topping made by program director Shamya Waters for the center’s 50th anniversary. She makes cake toppers under her business Living Waters. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

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