Christian Chronicle

Growth marks senior living CEO’s nearly half-century tenure

Longtime administrator retiring after transforming a once-struggling nursing home in Ohio.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

DELAWARE, Ohio — In 1974, Larry Harris was working as a salesman and training to become a manager for Glick Furniture Co., then the largest furniture retailer in central Ohio.

That’s when Frank Chappell, a fellow member of the Northland Church of Christ in Columbus, approached Harris about a different career opportunity.

Chappell, one of the founding board members for a nursing home started by members of Churches of Christ, asked Harris, then 25 years old, to serve as the fledgling ministry’s administrator.

“To tell you the truth, going through school and college, becoming a nursing home administrator was probably the last thing I would choose to do,” said Harris, a 1972 graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Ark., with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

But Harris visited other senior living facilities, quizzed experts about the field and prayed about Chappell’s offer.

“I decided to go ahead and spring for it,” said Harris, who started work in early 1975.

Nearly 48 years later, as Harris prepares to retire in January as CEO of Willow Brook Christian Communities, the once-struggling 25-bed nursing home has grown to three locations.

With assets exceeding $100 million, Willow Brook operates a single campus in Columbus — its often-expanded original site — and two in the community of Delaware, about 30 miles north of Ohio’s capital city. 

Read the full story.

This story appears in the January edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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