This is a dedication to the life and memory of Mary Olive Ganton.
Mary was reunited with the Lord in November of 2003 after spending 89 bountiful years here on earth doing His good works.
Mary Olive Crandell was born in a farmhouse on March 23, 1914, six miles north of Williamston, Michigan. She was the only girl “squeezed in between” (as she put it) two older and two younger brothers. She learned to drive at thirteen and drove herself to Williamston High School. She was the only child to graduate in the family.
Mary Olive Ganton
March 23, 1914 – November 18, 2003
Mary and her husband Mervin together raised four sons. In order to fulfill Mary’s longing of having her boys attend a Christian High School, the Ganton family moved to Spring Arbor. She opened her home and her heart to take care of those in need. Many orphans were taken into her home and given the same love and care as her own children. This eventually led to Mary’s compassion for seniors and it was here in Spring Arbor where Mary began taking care of seniors in their home. At the age of 40, with children still home to raise, Mary completed LPN school and began building Faith Haven, the areas first modern-day nursing home. With her husband Mervin doing the foundation and basement walls himself, they soon ran short of funds. Banks would not loan to Nursing Homes in those days so they had to convince the subcontractors to take second mortgages in order to complete the building! Mary was the nurse, bookkeeper, and administrator of Faith Haven. This was the beginning of the Ganton Family senior care tradition. Her success with the new business did not slow her down for her goodwill to others as she founded and supported a Christian Elementary School, and continued to help new churches get their start along with other worthwhile charities that called on her. From running a regular “Goodwill Store” out of her own home (no charge for clothing of course) to picking up every child she heard of who needed a ride to Sunday School. Mary was always willing!
From her early twenties until her later years of life Mary always was helping the less fortunate. Maintaining her initial love for children, in their late fifties, Mary and Mervin began their second family adopting four babies, two girls, and two boys.
Mary Ganton’s legacy will always be how much she cared and gave to others.
After graduation, Mary did not know what the future held when her mother asked Mary to take her to a tent meeting one Sunday evening. There, along with her mother, Mary dedicated her life to Christ. She felt changed and said, “The trees even looked greener and I was very happy. I just loved everyone.” She always loved children and started teaching Sunday School. Mary’s attitude never changed and she was always active in the church. She visited the homes of her Sunday School children and that is where she met her husband, Mervin Ganton. They married in 1934.
It all began in 1968 as Ganton Nursing Home with 59 beds and had approximately 50 employees. Merv Ganton, the brother of John Ganton Sr., was the owner and administrator of this nursing facility.
In 1981, Merv and Mary Ganton sold Ganton Nursing Home to John Ganton Sr. At the time of this exchange, the facility was renamed Countryside Care Center. Further development of Countryside began in 1984 when the Care Center was expanded to be able to house 115 residents. Immediately following construction began on the Countryside Court apartments; our semi-independent living option. They were completed in 1986 and were an immediate success! All 44 apartments were filled within one year.
Retirement community living was gaining popularity among Mid-Michigan residents, and 1987 turned out to be prime time to begin construction on the first eight Villas; a new independent living option. These condominium-style apartments have been continuously added to little by little now totaling at 68 Villas in all!
In the Mid-1990’s John Sr. recognized a need for apartment style living for those that did not need care but rather daily assistance. Trusting his instincts, an assisted-living building called the Countryside Manor was constructed in 1996. Because of the Manor’s great success and long waiting list, the Countryside Grand was added just 2 ½ years later.
With the dawn of a new century, John Sr. brought a new concept to the retirement community by adding condominium homes for purchase in 2002. Terrace Hills offers the over 50 crowd a chance to own a home as part of our campus, and have the advantage of priority placement should they ever need Countryside’s care services in the future.
In 2003 the Countryside Atrium apartments were constructed, a new semi-independent living option designed in the likeness of the Court apartments on the East side of Robinson road. In addition, John Sr. decided the time had come to construct six office suites, the first step toward bringing more on-site services and businesses close to residents that call Countryside home, including Johnny O’s Fitness Center in 2005 and Ganton Home Care in 2007.
Today, John Ganton’s Countryside, A Planned Adult Community has over 400 residents and almost 280 employees who all make it a great place to live. The future looks even more exciting as we plan more housing, more recreation opportunities, more on-site medical facilities and more neighborhood shopping. We believe just as the saying goes, “The best is yet to come!”