Longtime River Garden leader retires


After six decades of service to River Garden Senior Services, Sheldon Gendzier has decided to “retire.”

Gendzier joined River Garden’s board in 1958 following in the footsteps of his father and father-in-law, who both served as president of the facility’s board of directors. He himself was president from 1969 to 1972.

Over the past 60 years, Gendzier has held virtually every major board and committee position. As chair of the Master Planning Committee, he was a principal figure in the Home’s decision to move from Riverside to Mandarin in 1989. When it became clear that River Garden needed to expand its therapy and outpatient programs, Gendzier again chaired the Master Planning Committee and oversaw a 10,000-square-foot addition and facility refurbishment. He also played a critical role in building The Coves, River Garden’s independent living community. He and his wife, Estelle, have made it their home for the past eight years.

Gendzier was honored for his many years of volunteer service at River Garden’s Anniversary Day festivities in March. The 89-year-old now becomes a lifetime honorary trustee.

“Individuals of Sheldon’s character and commitment do not come along all that often,” said River Garden CEO Marty Goetz. “But when they do, they make all the difference in the world. Thank you, Sheldon, for making a difference in our lives and for our community.”

River Garden Senior Services is a not-for-profit, mission-driven community agency offering an array of elder care programs and services on a 40-acre campus in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville. Sponsored by the organized Jewish community, River Garden serves clients from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds while maintaining an environment supportive of Jewish identity and informed by Jewish values.

The River Garden campus includes: River Garden Hebrew Home, a 180-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility; The Coves at River Garden, an 80-unit independent living community; River Garden Home Health Care, a Florida-licensed and Medicare-certified home health agency; River Garden Rehab, providing short-stay rehabilitation and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapies; River Garden Adult Day Care; The Albert Z. Fleet Geriatric Training Center, providing continuing education, training and professional advancement for staff; and River Garden Foundation, providing financial support to the River Garden system of senior services.