Ken and Carol Lassiter met at a Halloween party in 1959. Ken was dressed as a werewolf; Carol was dressed as a Swiss Miss.
Both worked at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. — she was in the personnel department and had hired him. Despite many phone calls between them during the hiring process, they had yet to meet in person until the party.
“We sat and talked a long time over beers on our first date,” Carol said. “Within a couple of weeks, we were going steady. We started talking about marriage a week later.”
Following their swift courtship, the couple married in 1960. Now, together for 56 years, the couple have covered a lot of ground during their journey together.
Mixing Work and Play
The Lassiters’ honeymoon was spent in Carol’s Minnesota hometown with her parents, a compromise the couple made in order to marry in New York. Though it wasn’t the honeymoon most newlyweds dream of, it was the first of many adventures together.
“We’ve had our second, third, fourth, and hundredth honeymoons since then!” Carol said.
During his 36-year career at Kodak, Ken developed a television program for photography students called “Techniques of the Masters,” which allowed the couple to rub elbows with many professional photographers and travel to locations all over the world – including places like Australia and Bulgaria.
“We would go on location with a photographer beforehand, record them at work and do an interview, then we’d photograph their portfolio,” Ken said. “When the show aired, we’d roll that tape, then come back to the studio where the photographer would answer questions from callers live on camera.”
Back home, Carol would often prepare dinner for the guests and crew of the program before each show aired. During this time, the couple made many new friends – including iconic photographers like Gordon Parks and Arnold Newman.
Life Sets Sail
When they weren’t traveling the world, the couple could be found boating. During the 1980s and early 1990s, they spent plenty of time on the water. After Ken retired from Kodak in 1993, the Lassiters purchased a home at Boca Harbour in Boca Raton, Fla. The couple decided to sail their boat from Seneca Lake in N.Y., through the Erie Canal, down the Hudson and all the way to its dock behind their new Florida home.
“We spent 30 days actually on the water,” Ken said. “But we took six weeks to make the trip — we spent time along the way in cities like Charleston, S.C., and St. Augustine, Fla.”
The Next Phase of the Journey
After two years in Boca Raton, the Lassiters moved to Piper’s Glen Estates, a community in West Boynton Beach, where they lived for the next 20 years. They agreed early on in Ken’s retirement that they’d make their next move when they could no longer drive. But after watching their next-door neighbors struggle as they aged, they decided to move sooner.
“Our neighbors waited way too long,” Ken said. “We wanted to make a decision while we still could — so we started scouting!”
In the summer of 2015, the couple selected a villa home at Vi at Lakeside Village — they loved the space and the layout, and Ken says everything fell into place quickly.
“We chose Vi at Lakeside Village for three main reasons: our villa is lovely, the food is delicious, and the community is situated on a beautiful campus next to Lake Osborne,” Ken said.
The couple chose a villa home to help accommodate the collection of photography, and gifts from photographers that they collected during their decades with Kodak.
The walls of their villa home are decorated with more than 40 of Ken’s favorite photos from his personal collection. The photos on the walls are a remembrance to Ken and Carol of their friendships and world-travel adventures.
Life at Vi at Lakeside Village
Today, Carol and Ken are enjoying life at Vi at Lakeside Village. Carol recently spent some time in the care center after an illness, but now enjoys sampling more activities throughout the community.
Ken writes magazine articles for Photographer’s Forum from his office in the villa, and he has already become deeply involved in life at Vi at Lakeside Village. Currently, Ken is the head of the Lifestyles committee, a position he happily volunteered for. He also writes regularly for the community’s print magazine, Vi Living.
“I like making good things happen for people — it keeps my brain and body active. I think it’s keeping me alive!” he said.