Meet Wendy Pannier
She’s Called Jenner’s Pond Home Since 2020
Facing fears and sharing strength
Wendy Pannier has enjoyed a high-powered career, working in newspapers, non-profit communications, pharmaceutical technical writing and, eventually, Vice President for a national financial services company—but her greatest accomplishments have been overcoming serious health challenges and sharing her lessons learned with others.
“Who we become is the result of what we experience, learn, and grow from. What we then share can be a gift to others,” says Wendy, who moved to Jenner’s Pond with her husband, Roger Gormel, in 2020. “Our lessons in life—and the wisdom we draw from them—can be an inspiration to others who can, in turn, share that inspiration.”
Eyes open to insight
Wendy was born outside of Chicago. When she started toddling, her parents noticed that she walked into things. It turned out that she was nearly blind.
“I wasn’t able to go outside and play with other kids in the sun,” she recalls. “It made me look inward as opposed to outward.”
She overcame the condition with eye exercises and eye drops that dilated her pupils and went on to graduate with highest honors from Stephens College in Missouri with a degree in journalism and broadcasting. She worked at the Chicago Sun Times before moving to Philadelphia to handle communications for a racial justice campaign sponsored by the American Baptist and National Baptist conventions. Later, she worked with the Catholic Archdiocese on a youth project co-sponsored with the Centers for Disease Control, served as assistant bureau chief for Physicians Radio Network and did (and still does) technical writing training in the pharmaceutical industry.
Later, her focus shifted to financial communications, and she worked for many years with Capital Analysts, Inc., an independent broker-dealer based in Radnor, and rose to Vice President. When the firm was sold to Western & Southern Financial Group, she moved with them to Cincinnati, Ohio.
At age 45, she was diagnosed with stage 4B uterine cancer. The oncologist didn’t expect her to live, but her surgeon encouraged her.
“I decided to embrace my surgeon’s message,” Wendy recalls. That was in 1994. “I beat the odds of the experimental protocol I was on, which only had a 1-percent survival rate. I refer to it as a ‘near-death’ experience. I was and am grateful to be alive and wanted to give back.”
Wendy spent the next two decades leading groups at Cancer Support Communities throughout the mid-Atlantic region and in Cincinnati. Of course, she was no stranger to volunteering. During college, she was in a service sorority, which led to volunteer work with nonviolent juvenile offenders and later with the Pennsylvania Prison Society.
She has also volunteered with Women Organized Against Rape in Philadelphia, and the United Way women’s leadership giving group and the Cincinnati Women’s Business Resource Group in Ohio. She served as president and board chair of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, an educational and research non-profit, and was a member of the Columbia Ecumenical Ministry Council.
Marriage and moving
In her “spare” time before moving to Cincinnati, Wendy worked for The Kennett Paper. Every Wednesday the staff met at the Kennett Inn to critique the issue. One day, a friend of the editor’s walked in, and the editor invited him to join them. It was Roger Gormel.
“We got to know each other from there,” says Wendy. They married 25 years ago and lived in the Cedarcroft neighborhood of Kennett Square until she was transferred to Ohio. Roger’s career included work with DuPont, AT&T, and Rochester Corporation as well as a “retirement” career at Bass Pro Shops. “He’s always been an outdoorsy person.”
When it was time to retire, they looked at numerous communities in Cincinnati, Maryland, Delaware, and Chester County, and decided to move back East. They chose Jenner’s Pond. They were familiar with the area, and Roger’s adult children live nearby.
“Aside from that, it was the atmosphere and the beauty of the site, the activities, the friendliness, and giving attitude of the residents that attracted us,” Wendy explains.
“The non-profit rather than for-profit financial structure is also more beneficial to residents.”
They moved in during the first year of the pandemic, and Wendy got involved right away. She helps with the Splash newsletter and serves on the Residents Council.
“I frequently hear people say, ‘I’m getting old.’ I like to remind them that we are getting older from the day we are born! Remember how earlier in life we could hardly wait to get older? We looked forward to dating, learning to drive, and other things,” she counsels. “Now is a time to look back and reflect on those things that we grow into and through in our lives—and to look to the wisdom of our years to appreciate what we have and can share now.”
Call us today at 610-869-6800 or submit the form below to see why Wendy and other journalists choose Jenner’s Pond for retirement living.