On Valentine’s Day, we usually celebrate our love for someone by giving them gifts such as candy or flowers. And while those gifts are meaningful, Valentine’s is a good day to reflect on what we can give to our friends and neighbors that will last for more than just a few days. Some gifts, when nurtured, can grow and become a blessing to many.
Mr. Justus (Jud) Ammons, a developer and owner of Springmoor Life Care Retirement in Raleigh, saw what having a nice retirement community meant in the lives of people from all walks of life. Through Springmoor, he not only learned what is needed to change lives but why it is so personally important to have the opportunity to do so.
Mars Hill was the childhood home of Mr. Jud. It is where he first learned the importance of loyalty, honesty, independence, and caring for one another. He was always grateful for Mars Hill educators like Miss Marietta Smith, his high school math teacher, who always demanded the best from her students, and Dr. Otis Duck, who also made a difference in his life. His great grandfather, Rev. John Ammons, was the president of Mars Hill University during the Civil War, and Mr. Jud served as a trustee for the school.
These bonds continued to be an inspiration to him throughout his life.
Mr. Jud wanted to give back something useful and meaningful to the community that had given him such a solid foundation in life. In the spring of 2000, he opened Mars Hill Retirement Community, providing opportunities, interaction, and experiences for the residents, the town of Mars Hill, and Mars Hill University. His gift to the Mars Hill area continues to enhance the quality of life for the residents of both the retirement community and the town.
“As Mars Hill continues to grow and reach other people, I sincerely hope the values, vision, and excitement for life and the responsibility we share for one another will extend to generations beyond,” said Mr. Jud. “I want my children and grandchildren to realize we all can make a difference, and that we have a responsibility to repay some of the blessings we have received from the mountains and the people of Western North Carolina who taught us to care.”
On October 18, 2020, Mr. Jud passed away. He was known best for his sarcastic humor, the twinkle in his eye, and his loving, generous spirit. That generous spirit left a legacy of love in our community, and we will always be grateful for it.