← Back to Blog

Monarch Landing Resident Has Abundant Hobbies, Interests and Adventures


Talking to Katherine Bennett, a resident of Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville, is similar to speed-reading a series of adventure books. Her life has been a sequence of great journeys, endeavors, vocations, travel, talents, and homes.

States She’s Called Home

Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, Katherine has also lived in Missouri, California, Louisiana, Virginia and most recently, Georgia. “Every move was triggered by something different,” she explained. For example, “Hurricane Katrina blew us out of Louisiana and into Missouri.” Every move, she added, “was totally unplanned.”

Divergent Career Paths

With different interests and talents, Katherine has been able to explore multiple careers. She graduated from Illinois State University, majoring in art education with a minor in Russian language. She started her career teaching art in junior high school in Dekalb, eventually rising to become the elementary school art supervisor in Blue Island.

Other careers have included writing a travel guidebook and then doing the editing, layout and design for it. Discovering that she liked the production process, she launched a desktop publishing company with a couple dozen titles. She eventually sold the company to explore other opportunities.

While living in Virginia, Katherine was on the board of a local historical association. “They decided they needed to hire an executive director. I resigned from the board, and they hired me. I did that for three years before moving to New Orleans with my husband,” she said.

One of her most fascinating jobs was with the Chicago District Golf Association. “My sister was working there and told me they were looking for someone for the summer. I thought it would be fun, and I’d return to teaching after the summer. A man from Capital International Airlines came in two weeks after I started. He and a friend in Spain with a golf course and hotel, wanted to put together golf travel packages. As the newest person in the office, I became the ‘travel queen.’ I coordinated back-to-back trips to Spain and then decided it would be fun to do the same in Greece. After that, every year, we decided on a new destination. We established a working relationship with Pan Am and Hilton Hotels worldwide.”

Katherine checked out golf courses, hired travel agents, coordinated the trips, and created promotional brochures. During that time, she traveled…a lot! “I went to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, France, Italy, India, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hawaii. They paid me to see a lot of the world.” She recalled, “Originally, I thought I’d go back to teaching, but then ten years later realized I hadn’t done that.”


“I lived on a 46-foot flush deck Chis Craft power boat in California for several years. It was great fun,” she said casually. “My husband decided we also needed a 9-foot sailboat boat. For our first outing, we took it to a reservoir where there was a regatta with maybe 100 sailboats of the same model Once in the water, my husband said, ‘Let’s go!’ and pushed off against my better judgment, as the cuddy cabin door which sealed the hollow hull was not closed, and gear was not stowed. We went only a short distance; a downward draft caught the sail, and over we went.” They and the boat were rescued with much effort but, she added, “We sold it as soon as it dried out.”

Katherine said part of her adventurous nature is fueled by the fact she makes decisions quickly. For instance, she recalled, “Once, I was going to meet a friend in Boston for a doll show. My friend called and said, ‘Once we’re in Boston, we’re halfway to Amsterdam.’ We never got to the doll show but did make it to the tulip festival.”

Katherine said she learned how to horseback ride at the age of 43. “My husband had horses, and he brought one home once that I liked. I learned to ride Sage, then rode him on trail rides in the mountains.”

Hobbies and Creative Endeavors

Katherine’s current hobbies include researching the genealogy of her own and her husband’s families. They traveled to their homelands, France and the Czech Republic, where they met previously unknown relatives.

She is also passionate about crafting beautiful and very detailed dollhouses.

She started with miniatures while living in Missouri and met a woman who made dollhouses. When Katherine told her it was something she wanted to try, the woman mentored her, having her help complete a dollhouse for an auction benefiting a cancer center. “I worked on it with her and learned about electricity, furniture, wallpapering…a lot of skills. It sold for almost $4,000 and was donated back to the hospital, where visitors are able to enjoy it. It is gorgeous,” she said.

To date, Katherine believes she’s done more than a dozen dollhouses. She always has one or two in the works, and sometimes they take years to complete.

Katherine said she also loves creating rather than purchasing miniature items for her structures. “I’ve developed an eye for things. Sometimes I’ve been known to take containers of jelly from restaurants. They make good sinks, wastebaskets, and lampshades. You learn to see things.”

What she especially likes, she said, is “problem-solving. I buy dollhouse kits, but I never put them together exactly as they suggest. I find ways to change things. The houses ‘talk’ to me. And I also like to overcome challenges. I find it restful and therapeutic. When I start gluing on tons of shingles for a roof, I get into the zone.”

And By the Way, She’s an Author

In her ‘spare time,’ Katherine’s written a mystery novel. “I sent it to a few agents and got good feedback and suggestions. I’m incorporating them and will send it to additional agents,” she said. It’s about a small college town. “I’ve always wanted to write,” she said.

Important Decision for the Present and Future

One of Katherine’s fastest and most satisfying decisions was to move to Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville. “I had been researching senior living communities in Georgia but was not inspired. I saw Monarch Landing’s website and drove up from Atlanta,” she said. “I visited on one day and returned the next with a deposit. Monarch Landing checked all the boxes. The beauty of the building, the cleanliness, the amenities, well-planned activities, shuttle bus service, and the very important fact that now that I’m here, I never have to leave. I don’t need to worry about the future. This was the only senior living community I visited in the Chicago area, and I knew it was ‘it’ when I saw it.”  Katherine moved in last February.

“I’ve met interesting people, and everyone is so friendly. I like my apartment and the building. I like not having to cook and having free time to do what I want,” she said. In closing, she added, “With friends and relatives in the area, it really was like coming home.”

Monarch Landing

Monarch Landing is a Life Plan Community located on a scenic campus in Naperville, Illinois-named “one of America’s best places to live and retire” by Modern Maturity, and “the best city for early retirement” by Kiplinger. Monarch Landing offers independent living, promoting a vibrant lifestyle for active seniors.  The Springs at Monarch Landing offers memory supported assisted living, respite care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing services, thus providing complete continuing care for seniors. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services®. For additional information visit www.WelcomeToMonarchLanding.com or www.TheSpringsatMonarchLanding.com.