The death in 2009 of a well-known parishioner at Hope Lutheran Church has turned into benefit for the Osage Beach community.

The death in 2009 of a well-known parishioner at Hope Lutheran Church has turned into benefit for the Osage Beach community.

Walter Sokoll had a vision that senior citizens could have a place to get a warm meal, to enjoy visiting and would have a place to socialize. He was so adamant about his vision that he changed his trust in the final year of his life to make Hope Lutheran the sole beneficiary of his trust.

But there was one condition: Money from the sale of property he donated would be used to build a senior nutrition center.

The Senior Center is expected to be open to the public Sept. 8.

The fruition of his donation has become a reality, and a dedication and open house will be held at the Osage Beach Senior Center at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. The center is located next to the church at 1031 Industrial Drive.

After his death, Hope Chapel formed a Walter Sokoll Trust Building Committee, which led the effort to carry out requirements of the trust. As part of the Senior Center, the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging was engaged to manage its operation. Lisa Hill is the Senior Center administrator through the CMAAA.

A nine-member board of directors oversees operation of the center, which features an in-house meals program and a Meals-on-Wheels program for homebound senior citizens. The meals are designed by a nutritionist and prepared in-house.

A feature especially of interest to the community is the center’s capacity for public use for events such as family reunions, wedding receptions, public meetings, etc.

The center will be funded with congregate meals revenue and tax money from Camden County, along with rental fees from private events. The board is applying for 501(c)3 status to apply for grants and to accept tax-deductible contributions.

No federal funds will be used, according to organizers. Fundraisers and donations also are anticipated for income.

The Senior Center operates independently of Hope Lutheran Church, which owns the building and grounds.

Board members include:

Jerol Laughlin, president

Jean Hunkeler, secretary

Pat Ehlmann, treasurer

Others are Anita Topel, Kathy Heinemann, Roger Trost, Gene Scheiter, Doris Meyer and Mary Ellen Ahl.


Senior Center

The 7,200 square foot building is an open concept with a state-of-the-art kitchen, which will provide daily meals for seniors and for the Meals-on-Wheels. The kitchen and dining area are adjacent to a large area where tables and chairs can be set up for card and board games, and a large-screen television will carry sporting events and other favorite programming. An area designed for dancing, various types of classes, exercising and Wii games also includes two pool tables. A keyboard will be available for those inclined.

Evening dances are also planned.

A patio area with tables offers a place to relax or play games when weather permits.

The restrooms are handicapped accessible and include an emergency switch for anyone in need.


Hours of operation

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Soup and Salad Bar – 10:30 a.m.

Buffet-style lunch – 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Cost for senior citizens 60 and over is $3.50, and cost for guests accompanying a senior citizen is $6.50. Spouses of senior citizens can eat for $3.50 regardless of age.

The center will host monthly birthday luncheons.

The center will be closed on weekends and holidays.


Volunteer opportunities

The Senior Center is looking for volunteers to assist with the program. These could be center greeters and meal recorders, dishwashers, hostesses, game and activity leaders, piano keyboard players

Anyone who would like to volunteer or if a club or organization would like to meet at the facility, email or call Hill at 309-370-4778.