Meet Priscilla Shaffer

Meet Priscilla Shaffer

She’s Called Simpson House Home Since 2015

A life in bloom

At age 5, Priscilla Gene W. Shaffer saw the veins in a leaf, backlit by the sun. An appreciation for the beauty of creation has been a hallmark of her life ever since—and something she shared with others throughout her career.

Teaching about beauty
Born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1940, Priscilla recalls marching with the Rainbow Girls Drill Team in the local Halloween parade—the largest Halloween parade in the nation. Perhaps inspired by the backlit leaf, she followed her calling and moved to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women, which in 1958 merged with Temple University to form the Ambler Junior College of Temple University. She also majored in Art at Temple’s Main Campus. After graduating, she returned to Temple Ambler as an adjunct instructor. She remained on the faculty of the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design of Tyler School of Art at Temple University/Ambler for many decades, teaching the art of floral design as well as drawing and painting.

Throughout her life, Priscilla manifested her dreams. In 1968, she founded the Warrington Garden Club, which is still active today. She also was president of her own floral design business, Arts & Flowers s’il vous plait!, Inc., arranging flowers for weddings and other occasions. Many clubs and civic groups enjoyed her presentations on topics like “Floral Art: Where Imagination, Art and Process Fuse,” and her articles and floral compositions were published in the United States and in England. In Lansdale, where she lived, she headed a community project called “Love Art: Nurturing the Human Spirit of the Elderly Through Art,” which taught drawing and painting to community residents with dementia. She was honored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Philadelphia Flower Show for her interpretive floral compositions, and for her service, she was inducted into the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor.

Learning about life
Creativity was an adventure that brought her joy. Priscilla also has happy memories of traveling cross-country by train, visiting Ireland and walking the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. She says she has learned the importance of “taking as many pictures as you like throughout life” so you can relive the memories. Among her happiest memories are seeing her daughters, Priscilla Helene and Gretchen Willow, for the first time and seeing what they have become as they have grown into adulthood.

Art and design benefit from stepping back and looking at things from different perspectives, and Priscilla encourages others to use that approach in different areas of life.

“Become conscious. Don’t respond to life like a robot,” she says. “Step back and look at your religious heritage and be discerning about it, so that what you choose is yours and not just what you have inherited.”

Living in the moment
Priscilla moved to Simpson House in 2015. She discovered it years earlier when she toured it with a church group while she was exploring resources for her aging mother. She likes the diversity and appreciates the architectural features of Simpson House and the pastoral campus.

As an active member of the community, she continues to enjoy the bounty and beauty of life—aging included.

“It can be a refreshing and rejuvenating part of life,” she says, adding, “Practice gratitude and mindfulness before you become a senior, so that it becomes a habit.” She believes in the value of eating and resting properly, staying active, staying in touch with friends and continuing to learn. And, she says, “Go out for a Starbucks every now and again!”

Call us today at 215-878-3600 or submit the form below to see for yourself why Priscilla and other creatives choose Simpson House for retirement living.


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