GreenFields of Geneva resident shares lifelong talents

They found the perfect balance in their lives, integrating successful careers, hobbies, and above all, family.

Janet and Bruce Petsche moved to GreenFields of Geneva senior living community this summer.

Professionally, Bruce had worked in the sheet metal and structural steel fabricating business for 47 years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Bruce is an Army veteran.

Starting from when he was a kid, Bruce, developed his love for and talent in music and theater. As an adult, these pursuits became his after-work hours passion. "I loved Dixieland and took piano lessons between the ages of 6-12. While other boys were playing ball until the streetlights came on, you couldn't take the music out of me," he recalled. During high school, Bruce scored various musical gigs.

In college Bruce played piano with other members of his fraternity who played trumpet, trombone, clarinet and drums , plus a standup bass made out of a washtub.

"We had our own Dixieland band and played for events. It helped to solidify my love of Dixieland," he said. "In the Army, I played with ships' bands traveling from New York to Germany."

Bruce has written music and earned the distinction of being chosen the World's Greatest Ragtime Piano Player. He has also written a six-volume autobiography.

Bruce met Janet in community theater. "A couple of friends needed a banjo picker in a show. I got the part. I was always a cornball ham. Janet could carry a show. You couldn't take your eyes off of her. She was extraordinary," he said. Janet spent seven years pursuing an acting career in New York and then returned to the Chicago area, where she wrote for a local newspaper.

"We decided we needed more money, so I went to John Marshall Law School while working full time. When I was 52, I started working as an attorney in municipal law. I worked well into my 70s," Janet said.

Through it all, their careers and hobbies, while important, were overshadowed by their devotion to family. Now married for 61 years, they have three children and six grandchildren.

Bruce said he's enjoying their new home at GreenFields. "I like to golf and love that we're surrounded by golf courses." He stays busy, attending current event discussion groups, singing with the Greenfields Choir, and entertaining the residents during Thirsty Thursday cocktail hours.

"We love that our residents have so many diverse and interesting hobbies. We especially enjoy the fact that they are able to share their experiences and talents with their fellow residents!" said Kaitlyn Melendy, lifestyles supervisor.

GreenFields of Geneva

GreenFields of Geneva is an exceptional senior living community providing a vibrant retirement lifestyle in an ideal location. GreenFields offers independent living, as well as assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing care. GreenFields of Geneva is owned by Lifespace Communities, a non-profit organization with more than 45 years of experience in senior living. For additional information, call 630/578-7969 or visit

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