Article Has Been
Hazel Brooks and
Helen Strain Shannon
SPRINGS is a community for older adults, where loving
concern and security are provided ... where retirement means
time for renewal of interests and enjoyment.
It is located between Belton and Raymore, Missouri in a
beautiful small-town type setting, with both Privately-Owned Garden Homes and
Spacious Apartments, on State
Highway 58, one mile east of U.S. Highway 71.
began as a glow of an idea in the mind of Mrs. Merle Dean Mott spread
like fox fire, that eerie phosphorescent light sometimes seen on aging
wood in the dark. Merle
felt the growing need of such a “Home” so sincerely that one
day her idea burst into flame and emerged as a full-blown dream
capable of realization...
the Church be interested in using my sixty-two acre farm for a ‘Caring
Home’ for older adults?” The “fox fire flame” rolled
along in her mind and burst into fire that engulfed the Reverend
Richard Person, the Belton minister, and then Dr. William T. Gibble,
President of The National Benevolent Association of The Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ). Dr.
Gibble fanned the fire into a soul-stirring blaze and a great idea
became a greater plan...
would keep that fox fire burning?
Who would fan that glow into reality ... into its potential
greatness as a “Home of Concern and Care?” In answer to that
important quandary came Dr. Thomas H. Johns with zeal and dedication.
A human dynamo with ability to inspire everyone around him, he
brought constructive, creative direction.
Dr. Johns accepted the challenge to nurture this dream into a
HAVEN for retirement living and health care where independence, an
active lifestyle, and the dignity of the individual would be
Johns saw on Merle’s beautiful farm a spring of pure water with a flow
bountiful enough to supply the entire farm, its livestock, the home,
and neighbors. This
spring became a symbol of reality and strength, enhancing the glow of
the fox fire dream and its fulfillment...
is the story of the beginning of this wonderful HAVEN ... the NAME,
rich in symbolic meaning, was inspired by the spreading glow of a
luminous fungus on the fallen tree, called FOX FIRE WOOD by the
Indians, and it was further inspired by the life-giving spring on this
Thus in 1976, in cooperation with The National
Benevolent Association, Merle’s great dream became
This page about the
“Glow of Fox Fire”
is dedicated to
the founder and lifetime supporter of