Welcome to Titus Manor

Joseph & Louise Titus Memorial Presbyterian Home

Titus Manor

513 N. Worth Street Sullivan, IL 61951

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The History

 
For nearly forty-four years, the 149 year old Titus Mansion, located at the southeast corner of Wyman Park in Sullivan, Illinois, has been a retirement home for women.
 
The home was built by Joseph B. Titus, a young attorney who came to Sullivan with his family in 1862. The original structure was only four rooms, but was later enlarged to the present size.
 

The Titus family has always been a source of interest to local historians. Joseph also owned the Jefferson Opera House, which hosted many famous artists of the times. At an early age, his daughter, Winifred, was impressed with the theater and made her debut as Little Eva in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in her father’s establishment.

 

By the age of 21, “Winnie” studied voice, French, German and Italian in Milan, Italy. Later, she studied piano. As an opera singer, she toured with an opera company in Europe and America, finally returning to Sullivan where she taught voice and piano.


Winifred married Judge George Sentel in 1918, when they were both 45 years of age. They occupied the house after their marriage.

 

The mansion’s lavishly landscaped grounds became the subject of great interest to the horticulturists at the University of Illinois, for at one time there were 105 trees and 118 shrubs within the grounds.

 

Mrs. Sentel was an energetic entertainer and even in her latter years, when the house was partially closed during the winter months, she religiously reopened her home during the summer.


It took almost five years and approximately $70,000. To remodel the structure so that it would pass state inspection as a home for elderly women. The work was hampered by many factors, but mostly by very little money. In the beginning, extensive refurbishing was necessary to bring the house up to state standards for shelter care, and when everything was in readiness for occupants, there was no financial backlog to tide the project over during the first months of operating at less than full occupancy.


This not-for-profit business admitted its first resident on February 6, 1967. Mrs. Anita Gritzmacker, at age 59, having lost her husband, suffering the effects of a near fatal bicycle accident, and finally the near destruction of her home by fire, was in dire need of a home. She was welcomed to Titus by Mrs. Erma Ferguson, the home’s first administrator.


 


At the time of her death in 1960, the home was willed to the Illinois Synod of the Presbyterian Church for the purpose of establishing a home for retired Illinois women and it was dedicated to that cause in memory of her parents, Joseph B and Louise Titus.


In 1961, the Synod accepted the responsibility of Mrs. Sentel’s estate and thus began the chronology of events.


 

Then, when the gardens were in full bloom and provided a perfect setting for social functions, she would entertain the many organizations of which she was a member.


The furnishings in the house are predominately those of Mrs. Sentel’s, including her portrait, which hangs in the piano room. This was painted by the renowned Herbert Rymon.


Mrs. Goldie Cundiff succeeded Mrs. Ferguson as administrator in 1971, and in February of 1975 Mrs. Peggy Auten came to Titus to replace Mrs. Cundiff, who resigned because of health issues. She was dedicated to giving the residents quality care in a home-like atmosphere.

 


At that time, the stately three story brick home was equipped for five residents. All had to be physically able to care for their own needs. The applicants were considered in the order in which requests were received, with no specific religious preference. For a reasonable monthly fee, each resident had a private room and was served three well-balanced meals each day. In addition, there were laundry privileges and some incidentals. It should be noted that while each lady had her own room, these rooms were sufficiently large enough to accommodate two ladies per room, so the maximum capacity was actually 10 residents. Presently there is space available for 14 ladies.


Through the years, the home has been governed by a Board of Managers. There have been but a few changes in the entrance requirements and the services offered.


 

Kathy is a licensed respiratory therapist with 10 years of experience in social service work. In 2013, Kathy resigned to pursue her passion for those suffering from Alzheimers and was replaced by Mrs. Jane Stevenor. Jane is an RN with a background in administration and teaching. She was the wife of the minister from the Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church and they were unexpectedly transferred out of state after a short time.

 

Mrs. Diane Barker became the administrator in September, 2013. Diane came to Titus Manor with many years of experience in the medical field and the marketing arena. She has an A.S. from Lakeland College with a focus in Psychology, a B.S.from Eastern Illinois University in Career and Organizational Development, and an M.S. in Technology with a focus in Training and Development from Eastern Illinois University as well.

 

Diane and her staff of both full time and part time employees, are devoted to excellence and making sure each resident at Titus Manor is treated as if they are family. Diane, staff, and residents host several fundraisers during the year to help fund activities and help with subsidies for our lady residents. September 2016 was our first year for hosting a “Color Run”. We hope to do host this event yearly.

 

We also host an annual Holiday Bazaar each winter before Christmas in which proceeds are used toward activities for the residents. The employees, residents, and many people from the community make crafts to sell at the Bazaar. During the year, we may sell pizza kits, cutlery, or other items for fundraising as well.

 

As a thank you to the community and to residents and their families, we host an annual cookout in which we provide food and entertainment (usually a band). This event enables the families of residents to not only bond with each other, but also to feel connected to people in the community as well.

 

Since 1965 some 160 women have enjoyed the facilities and services of the Titus Memorial Presbyterian Home d/b/a Titus Manor at Wyman Park. It remains an opulent landmark to this community and a tribute not only to the affluence of the Titus-Sentel family, but to their generous spirit.

Her devotion to her job and the love she demonstrated to the residents during her service of 24 years is commendable. Due to ill health, Peggy resigned in April of 1998 and Mrs. Pat Flannel was hired as administrator of the home. Pat is a registered nurse and has a Bachelor of Science Degree. Mrs. Flannel resigned in April of 2008 to pursue a teaching position and Mrs. Kathy Hawbaker was hired as administrator of the home in June of 2008.

 

Kathy is a licensed respiratory therapist with 10 years experience in social service work.

An overview of Titus Manor.

Learn about some of our activities and local points of interest in the area.

Enjoy an online virtual tour of Titus Manor Residential Care Home

Learn the History of Titus Manor

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