For one Villager, retirement is all about living life to the fullest, with a focus on people and things that matter most.
Photo: Nicole Hamel
After eight years, Bruce Ellis says the two things he and his wife Sandra are still in awe about in The Villages, are close neighbors, and the number of restaurants to choose from.
“When we come down here, we like to go out to eat because there are so many places so close,” says Bruce, a winter resident from New Gloucester, Maine. “Back home, you have to travel at least 45 minutes just to get to anything, and sometimes, the most you see of neighbors is maybe their lights on in the distance.”
Bruce says he and Sandra love the life they are living since Bruce’s 2012 sale of ATA Piping, Inc., a highly successful and all-consuming pipefitting and welding company in Windham, Maine, where he worked at for 19 years, then owned for 11 years.
To celebrate Bruce’s retirement, the two took their RV on a road trip to visit friends in Florida, before their “big trip” to Alaska, and many other places over the years.
Bruce says they considered purchasing a home in Fort Myers where their friends live but didn’t care for the hustle and bustle. They went on to visit Sandra’s brother who had just moved to The Villages, and the rest is history.
“We liked the area, so contacted his Realtor and here we are. It was a spur of a moment thing,” Bruce says.
Since then, Bruce and Sandra are enjoying the snowbird life. They spend their days between their home in The Villages, and their log cabin in New Gloucester, Maine, not to mention their nearby yurt (a tent-like structure) located on a 153-acre tract of land they own and use for hunting, snowmobiling, and metal detecting.
In between, Bruce loves fishing, golfing, and aquaponic gardening, a hobby he took up during the pandemic.
Bruce says their overall goal is to continue making great memories together, and living peacefully, surrounded by family, friends and their 3-year-old boys – two cocker spaniels named Oakley and Onyx.
Bruce, reminiscing about people gone too soon, including his own father who was only 52 when he died (the same age Bruce was when he retired), says he plans on staying active and living a long life.
“I have multiple friends and family members who worked in the mills their whole lives and when they retired, were lost and within no time, died because they felt like they didn’t have a purpose, but I’m not going to be that person,” Bruce says. “I’m going to do the things I wasn’t able to do while working, like fish, hunt, hike, camp, visit all the National Parks I can, spend time with family, explore, and enjoy myself.”
“Life is too short not to,” he says.