- St. Louis natives who stayed in Boone County after graduating from the University of Missouri.
- Live in southern Boone County in a home that overlooks the Missouri River and Katy Trail.
- Educators who retired after extensive careers in local schools and abroad.
- Tim was the principal at Douglass High School for most of his career.
- Ann taught in the Southern Boone County Schools.
- They have three children: Katie, Peter and Max.
Where did you live and teach overseas?
Taipei, Taiwan (1998-2000); Yangon, Myanmar (2004-2011); Lagos, Nigeria (2011-2014)
Why did you live abroad for 12 years?
“When we were young, we attended an overseas recruitment fair for school teachers and administrators. We were offered jobs but decided to wait a few years. We attended the fair again 20 years later and decided to take the leap when we were offered jobs in Taipei, Taiwan. This was a family decision because our three children were still in school.” Ann was an elementary teacher and Tim a middle-school administrator at the Taipei American School, which their children attended.
“The change proved to make a difference in the lives of our kids. Katie works for the United Nations in Beirut, Lebanon, helping support refugee camps in Lebanon. Peter works in management for Mitsubishi Laser Division and is stationed in Seattle, Wash. Max lives in Yangon, Myanmar and teaches in a middle school.”
What was your favorite overseas location?
“Myanmar .The Burmese people are lovely — gentle and sweet. We explored magical places and the hiking is amazing.”
What have you enjoyed most about your home?
“The view of the river, the privacy, the rolling hills and wooded acreage were the initial attractions. Since retiring, we love being back in our own house, using the Katy Trail, boating on the river and being with family and friends.”
What prompted you to build the bridge tree house?
“When we worked in Taiwan, we traveled to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, and found a ‘canopy walk’ in the dense rainforest. The rainforest topography was hilly with tropical trees. The bridge/walkway was built in the canopy of the trees. The whole family enjoyed the experience and we began thinking our land might be suited for a similar structure. We were also influenced when we saw a television program about a guy who builds treehouses.”
How long did it take you to build the bridge and treehouse?
“The main structure of the bridge and tree house took several days to complete. An engineer/builder/tree climber from Saint Louis lived with us for several days and was the main builder. All of the decking, netting, and railings took another few weeks once the cables and supports were installed.
“The process included shooting a thin line in the main tree with a giant slingshot so the builder could pull his ropes up. He then climbed the tree (with his tools) and attached cables. We began laying wood planks, making sure our safety harnesses were securely attached to a cable. We hoisted up support beams and attached one end of each beam to the tree so that the other end had flexibility and movement when the wind blew and the tree swayed in the wind. Finally, we tackled the standard building of joists, flooring, railings and safety-netting.”
What is your favorite time of day to “hang out” in the tree house?
“We enjoy watching the sunset over the Missouri River and following the bird migrations seasonally. Watching activities on the Katy Trail and river is always fun.”
What can you tell us about the big elephants in your living room?
“We found the elephants while living in Burma. We met a woman who owned a small wood-carving shop. After the cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008, many of the huge, beautiful trees were blown over by the incredible winds. The Burmese are industrious and began clearing the trees immediately after the storm subsided. They used the lumber for many purposes. Our elephants, each weighing more than 500 pounds, were carved from tree stumps in our friend’s shop. We shipped them home when we left Myanmar. Getting them home was easier than trying to decide where they best fit in our house.”