The public is invited and encouraged to hear LeRoy Weddle speak at the McPherson County Historical Society’s meeting, which will be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the McPherson Museum, 1111 E Kansas Ave. in McPherson.

Using both historic as well as more current photos via PowerPoint slides, Weddle will present a chronological history of the development of The Cedars from its inception in Darlow, Kansas, to its move to the current museum site in 1952 and the development of the current campus on Cedars and Darlow Drives.

This event is one of a series of activities sponsored by The Cedars, Kansas’s oldest retirement community, as it celebrates 125 years of service to elders not only from McPherson County but from across the nation.

In 1893, the facility that is today known as The Cedars, began on a farm eight miles southwest of the south edge of Hutchinson. Housed in a large white frame building, it was known as the Old Folks Infirm and Orphans Home Association of the German Baptist Brethren and was located near Booth, Kansas, later known as Darlow.

The orphanage feature of the home was discontinued when it became apparent that serving the two widely divergent age groups was unworkable in the available facilities. In 1952, aging facilities compromised by a 1948 tornado forced closure of the Darlow Home. A search for alternate locations led to the purchased of the Dr. J.W. Fields home and an adjacent three-acre space on Kansas Avenue near Lakeside Park in McPherson.

Weddle has had a long association with The Cedars. He joined its staff as personnel director in 1980, was named administrator in 1984, and became the first CEO in 1988. At the end of 2003 he retired from The Cedars to serve as executive director of Progressive Healthcare Alliance, a position he held through July 2010 when he retired once again.

In retirement, LeRoy drove cars for Midway Motors, is an active golfer, and enjoys spending time with his wife Carolyn and their four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Born and raised near Bloom, Kansas, he graduated as class valedictorian in a class of three. Following high school he enrolled at McPherson College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. During his years at McPherson College, Weddle played football, basketball and tennis all four years.

Following a stint farming with his dad, LeRoy earned a Master of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary in Oak Brook, Illinois. He served his church as pastor at the Peoria, Illinois, Church of the Brethren and later at Community Church of the Brethren in Hutchinson.