While looking for Jay Soper’s third-floor apartment, I hear a voice call out for me to stop.
“Excuse me?” A woman and an older man are walking a few feet behind. “Are you looking for us?”
It’s Jay Soper and his daughter Lisa, and they’re heading back towards Jay’s apartment. We engage in idle chitchat before entering the apartment together. His living room is neat and organized. By the patio entrance, a tall flag with what looks like a United States military emblem flaps in the calm afternoon breeze. Lisa proudly confirms her father’s lifelong service in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As Jay shares his life’s story, one thing immediately becomes clear—Jay Soper has lived a life of consistency. He married his high school sweetheart, held the same career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers all his life, and constantly traveled to beautiful, far-flung places.
Before Jay became a globetrotter, traveling and living in places like Italy and Alaska, he was a small-town boy. Born in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, Jay grew up in a small town with a population of about 6,000 people.
“I was the youngest of six boys,” Jay says. He points to a framed photograph on the living room wall by the window. “Those are my parents and my brothers. They’re all gone now.”
As he talks of his childhood and upbringing, we reach the high school point of his story. Jay’s eyes light up as he recalls his high school sweetheart, Carole, who would eventually become his wife and mother to their only child, Lisa.
Jay and his wife of 56 years were not only high school sweethearts, their romance continued through college as well. Both attended and graduated from University of North Dakota, where his October 2018 wife studied to be a medical tech and Jay got a master’s degree in civil engineering.
With his wife and daughter, Jay traveled throughout all fifty states, as well as Italy, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, among other places. In their spare time they enjoyed playing golf.
“Our favorite was probably Italy,” Jay says. Lisa points out a few paintings of Italian views. Jay happily remarks that they saw those very views in person. “My wife loved shopping for local jewelry and shoes,” he adds. The pair then show me a custom hand-made candle sitting on the table between us. The handiwork is as intricate as anything I’d ever seen.
Nowadays, Jay enjoys his quiet life at Sterling Court. Lisa lives only a few minutes away in San Bruno, which allows her to visit her father often. By both their accounts, Jay is never bored with the daily routine at Sterling Court. He has made friends with his neighbors and actively participates in many events.
After a lifetime of seeing the world, Jay appreciates the calmness that Sterling Court offers.
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