The SUMMIT Senior Apartments with Assisted Living Services treasures the life experiences of its tenants. 

Rena Willert is known by Benedictine Associates as a quiet natured lady who has brought a gentle and friendly spirit to The SUMMIT for nearly 13 years.  Rena grew up in Euclid, Minnesota, the youngest of 10 children.  “My father said I was the movie star of the family being the youngest!” notes Rena with a smile as she recalls days in the kitchen helping her mother bake and cook while her siblings tended to the outdoor farm work.  Rena’s Raisin Filled Cookies (recipe included) are fairly famous, in her family circle and beyond. “They are lots of work but worth it, I am told.”

Rena married Paul at 18, thanks to a blind date with friends and a fun ride in a crowded coupe. The rest was history.  Rena and Paul made some moves around the area in their lifetime for employment opportunities.  Rena worked in a few kitchens early on including the Old Bethesda Hospital Dietary where she remembers setting up trays and sending them up the dumbwaiter to reach the higher floors.  Paul was a World War II Navy Boiler Tender on a ship and later worked for the Fargo Postal Service.  Rena recalled how he was driving the City Bus in Fargo and some of the Mail Carriers on his route encouraged him to take the Postal Exam which he successfully passed, leading to his 28-year Postal career.

When Paul retired, they left Fargo and followed Rena’s dream of moving back to Euclid where they enjoyed their retirement home for 25 years before Paul’s sad passing.  “That was a ‘very tough transition’.  I had some hospital stays and spent time in the Rehab Unit at The Villa before settling here at The SUMMIT.  With the help of my 3 children and this apartment, I am happy.  I have found it a good place to live,” added Rena.

“Although having macular degeneration has made me legally blind, I still enjoy working in my kitchen, reading the Bible and newspaper with the help of a Vision Machine that June Shaver donated, and like everyone else I was sure glad when we could move around again after the COVID restrictions were lifted” (for Assisted Living tenants).

To learn more,

Rena’s Raisin Filled Cookies
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Margarine
1/2 C. Buttermilk
3 1/2 C. Flour
2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Egg

Mix the above ingredients well.  Roll out and cut using a round cookie cutter.

2 C. Ground Raisins
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Tsp. Flour
1 C. Water

Cook filling until thick.  When cool, spoon onto a cookie,  top with another;  pressing the edges together.  Bake at 325* for 12-15 minutes and enjoy.