Assisted Living Story: Sidney

The Story of our Senior Resident 'Sidney Derenburger'

Frontline Stories from Assisted Living at Stellar Care

Written by Mai Truong

The thesaurus provides several interesting synonyms for the word “retire.” Some of these include: part, yield, retreat, withdraw, resign. Sidney Derenburger, along with his life partner, Mary, threw these words out the window and decided to take retirement by storm.

Sidney was born in beautiful Montana on February 8th, 1932. He joined the military as a young adult and was in the US Navy for more than twenty years. The last city he was stationed in was San Diego. With the beautiful weather and nice scenery, Sidney decided to stay. He joined the Sheriff’s department and worked in helping to investigate possible crimes related to narcotics. He continued in this work for over thirty years. Sidney’s career in law enforcement illustrated his value for organization and justice. He never shied away from enforcing the law, even when it meant confronting dangerous situations.

After a long and fulfilling career, Sidney retired and joined the Elks Lodge. At one of these meetings, he met Mary Platter. Mary is a lively and dynamic woman, always looking to travel to new places. She has been to all fifty states at least once and all but four of them twice. The rest is history. Sidney and Mary found wonderful companionship with one another and became life partners. They joined a club of individuals who were veterans or spouses/widows of veterans.

The people in this group would meet regularly with their campers or RVs and travel all throughout the United States together. Sidney and Mary loved traveling and were always on the go. Lynn, Mary’s daughter, would also join them on many excursions. Aside from traveling throughout the US, they have been to beautiful locations abroad, such as Iceland and Egypt. Mary shared that on their trip to Egypt, she was determined to fulfill a longtime dream of riding a camel. Sidney, on the other hand, refused to ride one and decided to watch. Mary got up and rode the camel on her own and recalls this moment as one of the best during their travels. Of all the places they’ve been across North America and beyond, Mary and Sidney revealed that their favorites weren’t so far away. They loved the sunshine and beaches of Hawaii, and seeing the northern lights in Alaska. They maintain that some of the most wonderful places are in one’s own backyard.

After years of travelling together, Sidney and Mary decided to slow down and enjoy sunny San Diego. Mary visits with Sidney in our community several times each week. They spend time in the various activities and dining rooms together. Seeing Sidney today, it is still clear that he has a traveler’s heart, the personality of a leader, and a love for Mary. We appreciate them both and admire their love for one another and bold, venturesome natures. May we all endeavor to “retire” to a great and glorious adventure.

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Our Services

Memory Care

Our experienced staff provides a structured environment where residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can thrive with set routines.

Club Stellar

Residents who are early on in the progression of their dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible for our Club Stellar program and special rate.


Our staff prepares nutritious meals three times a day, featuring in-season fruits and vegetables, homemade soups, and diabetic options.


The Stellar Care activities staff curates tailored activities, field trips, and programs for all residents at various levels in the progression of their dementia.