Q&A WITH John Stone Merit House founder

John Stone started working in nursing homes at the age of 15 when his dad and cousin bought an aging facility in Toledo’s Old West End. Many of his family members are also in the business; his great grandmother is Elizabeth Scott, founded the Elizabeth Scott Community after having been involved in nursing care. She converted her rural farm home into a long-term care facility. Her simple philosophy, “To care for residents like they are family,” still serves as the driving force behind our care.

The Merit House Senior Community building began as a 250-bed facility known as Villa North. It had three owners before becoming West Toledo Health Care. When Ohio’s bed tax forced an obsolete building into bankruptcy, Stone and his wife bought a 53-bed, two-thirds empty, decaying structure from the bank receiver on March 1, 2013. Since then they have renovated the building inside and out, adding 27 assisted living units with another 24 on the way.

What was your first job?
My first job was cleaning and painting metal working machinery for Yoder Machinery in Holland.

What health tip do you support?
I quit smoking six years ago– cold turkey.

Most memorable trip? I love taking cruises with my wife. Always the Caribbean in the winter/spring.

What is your self indulgence?
We put in a built-in pool at our home two years ago. I enjoy entertaining, grilling and the fire pit.

I have always wanted to… go on a guided elk hunt out West. Beautiful scenery with the horses, and seeing big game has got to be a thrill.

What trait do you admire? Hard work and honesty. People who work hard are most often honest as well as successful.

What is your pet peeve? Bureaucracy. The increase in governmental regulation and the
intrusion it represents is so entrenched most people don’t even recognize it anymore.

People don’t know… I used to sing at weddings. I loved being a part of someone’s most special day.

What are your words to live by?
I try to treat people like I’d want to be treated if our roles were reversed.

What was a defining moment in your life? When I lost my job at 46. I had a wife and three children to support, and we have been blessed with good fortune and good people since.

What is your advice to a younger you? Don’t waste time on minutiae. Plan your work and work your plan and always remember to stay on good terms with the person in the mirror.

Who is someone you would like to meet? Almon Gibbs, the first Worshipful Master of Northern Light Lodge in Maumee, OH. I’d like to see what he thinks of his lodge 200 years later.

What inspires you?
I am a very optimistic person so thinking about a better, stronger America inspires and excites me. I believe our brightest days are ahead of us.

Bonus Facts:

At this time of year, my favorite thing to eat is: Cheeseburgers on the grill.

I still can’t get the hang of: Government regulations

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