Manor Moments

Resident Profile: Meet the Orledges

July 2023

Profile written by resident Debbie Tice

Most Cornwall Manor residents probably know Marcie and Dave Orledge through their long-time service with the Manor Shoppe, but you may not be aware of this affable, self-effacing couple’s interesting and sometimes humorous back story.

The Orledges began their lives in different areas of Pennsylvania, nearly 300 miles apart. Dave, an only child, grew up in Coaldale, where his father worked as a miner. The family’s poor economic status qualified Dave to attend Stevens Trade School, now Thaddeus Stevens College, in Lancaster. He wanted to become an electrician, but there was an opening in printing and a print shop on campus, so he learned the print trade instead, grateful for any educational opportunity.  Subsequently, he found employment with a printer in Lancaster, and a few years later, he re-located to York, working in a small print shop. He jokes, “I was the only single guy there. Everybody was jealous of me.”

Dave’s single status didn’t last long, however. Marcie, a Pittsburgh native, and one of eight children, had just left the Navy. Her friend knew a friend of Dave’s in York, so she set up Dave and Marcie on a blind date. They hit it off, and for the next two years, every other weekend, Dave drove the four hours from York to Pittsburgh to see Marcie.

Marcie had earned her nursing degree following high school and had served in the Navy as a lieutenant, j.g. She was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital when J.F.K. was assassinated and his body was brought there. She said that while Kennedy was at Bethesda, a ring of sailors surrounded the hospital, and no one could enter or leave until the body was released 24 hours later. Looking back, she realizes what a profound experience that was, and that she had been witnessing history first-hand.

After serving two years in the Navy, Marcie moved back to Pittsburgh, where she continued her nursing career. The first time Dave drove from York to visit her, he got lost, but eventually he found his way to her family’s home. It was Father’s Day, and Dave, the somewhat flustered only child, was greeted by a noisy, chaotic crowd of at least 25 people gathered around the dinner table. After he left, Marcie’s relatives predicted, “He’ll never come back.” Then someone discovered that he had left his radio (intentionally, perhaps?), so Marcie knew he had to return.

After nearly two years of commuting from York to see Marcie, Dave told her, “Either I need a new car, or we need to get married.” Obviously, marriage won out. They moved to York, and Marcie became pregnant with their first son almost immediately. With a baby on the way, they decided to move closer to family. Dave found a printing job with the Eagle newspaper in Reading, and Marcie worked in the hospital there. Soon their second son was born.

When their boys were young, Dave’s mother died. His father, who had black lung disease, was struggling. He moved in with them, but the house in Reading was too small, so they found a larger home in a new development in Sinking Spring. This move began what their boys referred to as the “homeless” phase of their lives. Although their house was already built, they discovered that they could not move in until a large boulder in the front yard was dynamited to enable the sewer installation. The developer stored their furniture (but not them) in an unoccupied house. After weeks of living with their sons and a dog in a leaky, borrowed tent, and later in one room of a friend’s basement, their patience finally gave out. They demanded to be housed in a hotel. The developer relented, but instead of the comfortable, swimming pool-equipped accommodation that Marcie had envisioned, they found themselves in a seedy pay-by-the-hour motel frequented by the local ladies of the night! The place even had a nickname: Motel Death. Until they moved into their house, they worked hard to keep their temporary address a secret, especially from their sons’ schoolmates, who were convinced that they were homeless. Eventually everything worked out, though, and they spent 15 years in Sinking Spring. Dave continued to work in printing, and Marcie pursued her nursing career throughout her working life.

The Orledge’s next move was to Newmanstown. They were empty nesters now, and after retiring in their early 60s, they had more time to pursue their interests and to explore the country. For the past 30 years, they have spent two winter months each year in the Florida Keys, and for many years, they vacationed in Canada, hiking and exploring the Canadian Rockies. It was there that they discovered heli-hiking, a sport in which hikers stay in a lodge accessible only by helicopter and are then transported the same way to and from their daily hiking sites. They enjoyed many heli-hiking adventures over the years, taking in breathtaking scenery and glaciers, and making memories that will last a lifetime.

In 2008, while hiking the Rail Trail, Marcie and Dave discovered Cornwall Manor. They were so impressed with what they saw that they attended an open house and almost immediately decided to move here. They opted for the cozy home on Treetop Circle, where they still reside, because of its proximity to the many campus activities. Within a year of moving here, they began volunteering at the campus convenience store, first as cashiers, then as managers. The adjacent gift shop was then managed separately. Marcie still manages what is now the Manor Shoppe, while Dave contributes his skills there, changing watch batteries. As manager, Marcie also serves on the executive committee of the Cornwall Manor Society, and she previously chaired the Wellness Committee.

Marcie and Dave love their life at Cornwall Manor and consider their move here the best they ever made. Marcie’s advice to prospective residents, “Move here while you’re still relatively young and active if possible so you can fully enjoy everything this wonderful place has to offer.”