Emmy Lu Daly, a lively, curious 93-year-old, has been a resident of Sarah’s Circle for 21 years. Born and raised in Stillwater, Minnesota, Emmy Lu headed to Chicago, Illinois to study acting at Goodman Drama School after completing high school. When World War II started, she moved to California to become a riveter on fighter planes built at Lockheed Aircraft, eventually joining the Navy through the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) program. When the War ended, she took advantage of the GI Bill and matriculated to the University of Minnesota, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.
She then moved to New York, New York and worked as a legal secretary. After an enthralling Easter weekend in Washington, DC, she decided to move to the Capitol City. She joined the Circle Players and the Renata Kuh modern dance group and sang tenor in a major chorus. She married and had two children, Lisanne and Fritz, who are very dear to her.
Her last 10 working years were spent at L’Arche in one of the four Washington DC residences for mentally challenged adults. Her son, Fritz, is a resident in a L’Arche home in Arlington, Virginia. She lived as a staff person in one of the residences for a time but eventually had to leave her room at L’Arche. It was then that a Sarah’s Circle resident recommended she apply for a vacancy at our independent senior living community. It so happened that a unit was available and so she took it. She says that this was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
To this day, Emmy Lu describes herself as an entertainer and to meet her is to know this to be true. After her move to Sarah’s Circle and subsequent retirement from L’Arche, Emmy Lu realized that she wanted one more opportunity to use her singing talent. In 2011, she created a one woman show, “The Golden Miss Em,” and hit the nursing home and retirement village circuit. When she took to the stage, a good time was had by all. Emmy Lu has since retired as “The Golden Miss Em”. Now, Clementine, her ginger cat, politely tolerates her occasional outbursts of song.
Her life to this day remains busy and fulfilling.
After 21 years of living at Sarah’s Circle, Emmy Lu reports that she appreciates her life here more than ever. She has affordable and stable housing and is surrounded by a friendly community where she is known and feels safe. Emmy Lu told us that “I could call on anyone here if I needed help”. Such is the quality of life here at Sarah’s Circle.
Emmy Lu is an active member of her church community, maintains long-time friendships, keeps a close relationship with her two children, and is a dedicated participant in many of the activities offered at Sarah’s Circle. This includes monthly dinners, holiday celebrations, yoga, meditation, exercise, and poetry. As a writer, our poetry class has been particularly enriching and led her to author a book of poems entitled “And Then Again….” published in 2016. She had the opportunity to read from her book when she and another poetry class member were asked to perform their poetry at the Catalogue of Philanthropy Inspiration to Action event in December 2016. Needless to say, she loved being back on the stage.
As for the future? Emmy Lu has been a staunch advocate for our building renovation project since its conception. She is excited to move into her beautiful new living quarters when they are completed and will take full advantage of our refurbished wellness center with its robust and varied programming. With the future of affordable housing at Sarah’s Circle secured, and our project about to begin, Emmy Lu is proud to have played some small part in creating a legacy of affordable housing for future low-income seniors like herself.