David Day’s Story

Long before making his move to St. John’s Meadows, David Day was helping shape the community he would someday call home.

David’s history with St. John’s started in 2009, when he was asked to serve as a liaison from the nearby Azalea neighborhood where he lived on Laney Road. His collaboration with St. John’s resulted in the Coffeehouse Discussion Series, a program that to this day brings together St. John’s Meadows residents and people from the surrounding neighborhoods together on a regular basis to learn and speak more about shared topics of interest. Although David was not a resident at the time, he worked closely with residents on the Coffeehouse Committee to develop interesting programming that was meaningful to older adults living in and around St. John’s Meadows.

David—a self-described “lifelong learner”—was already navigating his retired life when his collaboration with St. John’s began nearly 15 years ago.  An accomplished college professor and anthropologist who taught at nearby Monroe Community College in Brighton for 33 years, he spent time traveling with his wife and exploring new and different cultures around the world. He was also a volunteer for 16 years at Lifespan, where he led the class “Matter of Balance.” In 2003, David became an affiliate of the Harvard University’s Pluralism Project with “Encountering Old Faiths in New Places.” Through this work, he took on a long-term project mapping religious diversity in the Rochester area.

David Day

In the early stage of his retirement, David used his experience organizing the Coffeehouse Series to get to know the St. John’s Meadows community and the people who have helped make it such a unique independent living option in the Rochester area. “We had lots of fun, one time we even brought in an improv group,” David reminisced. Through the collective vision and creativity of the group (in addition to each person’s personal and professional connections), the Coffeehouse Series has successfully featured local personalities speaking about topics that are interesting and important to a large percentage of the St. John’s population. It can be said that the long-running initiative has been successful in appealing to lifelong learners like David.

Finally, a St. John’s Resident

David finally made the transition from collaborator to St. John’s Meadows resident in 2022. “I got tired of the stairs,” David noted. “I am very athletic, but I do not need stairs,” he says with a laugh. Now widowed, David also experienced other aspects of the St. John’s spectrum of senior services through his late wife Anne. “My wife was a volunteer at the Chapel (at St. John’s Home), and she went to the rehab,” David explains.  He also noted that the location within Highland Park is a big draw, as well as “all of the hospitals around” the area, which makes St. John’s a viable option for so many people searching for a senior housing option. Thus, David put in his application in and moved in August.

A mask from David’s collection.

Now a fulltime St. John’s Meadows resident for several months, David continues to connect with neighbors new and old, continuously looking to improve the resident experience. “I’ve always pictured living in a place where I know the people and know the lay of the land,” he says.

You can see David at many of the events offered at St. John’s Meadows, as well as next door at Brickstone by St. John’s. He particularly enjoys taking walks along the trails that are now right outside his front door. The St. John’s campus seems to have just about everything someone like David would want, just shy of a beach where he could catch an occasional wave (David took up surfing at age 70).


“A Treasure Hard to Attain,” by David Howard Day

David has a couple of projects he is continuing to stay busy on nowadays. In fact, this week, the retired anthropology and archology professor is leading “The Masks We Wear: False Faces Across Cultures,” a free seminar on Friday, April 28. He will discuss the variety and uses of masks around the world throughout history, using actual pieces from his personal collection as examples. David says the seminar will showcase 20 masks from his world travels; however, he admits he does not have as many masks as he once did—the result of downsizing from his previous home to a one-bedroom apartment.

A New Chapter

The author of three published books, including “A Treasure Hard to Attain,” which explores archeology in filmography, David has somewhat stepped away from mummy autopsies and anthropologic expeditions to take a closer look at local history. One project he is busy with is his work towards creating an index of all the published authors and writers living St. John’s. David wants to highlight all of these varying works as a way to spark conversations and simply show the many incredible resources available by those living throughout St. John’s communities. Heading this project perfectly illustrates how David has continued to serve as a great connector of people living at St. John’s and throughout the neighborhood he knows so well.

Anyone who is interested in being featured in David’s new project and is a resident at any of St. John’s communities and has a published work can email David directly at anthroman40@gmail.com

David will also be leading a walking group for those who wish to walk to the Lilac Festival from St. John’s Meadows and Brickstone by St. John’s. You can join David on Friday, May 12, at 1:00 p.m., near the pool doors in Chesnut Court at Meadows.