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George Chapman headshot
George L. Chapman

George Chapman remembered as ‘pillar,’ ‘trailblazer’

George L. Chapman is being remembered as a “pillar” and “trailblazer” in the senior living industry for his contributions at ReNew REIT and the real estate investment trust now known as Welltower, among other activities.

Chapman, who was the current CEO of Toledo, OH-based ReNew REIT, passed away March 22.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors, management team and employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. We are proud to carry on his legacy and continue his work in seniors housing. George was our fearless leader, and he will be greatly missed,” ReNew REIT said in a post on its website. The company described him as a “pillar in the industry and the community” and “a caring and generous man.”

Chapman had been CEO of ReNew REIT since its inception in 2018. In this role, according to the company, he was responsible for the overall vision and guidance of the company, overseeing all functions.

Before ReNew REIT, Chapman was with Toledo, OH-based Health Care REIT, now known as Welltower. In a press release, Welltower said that Chapman joined the REIT in 1992 as executive vice president and general counsel, then became chairman and CEO in 1996 and added the title of president in 2009. He retired from Health Care REIT in 2014.

“Under his leadership, Health Care REIT’s market capitalization rose to $15.5 billion from $394 million and enterprise value increased from $633 million to $25.9 billion,” according to ReNew REIT. “He facilitated the growth of the company to be the largest healthcare REIT, investment grade rated, a member of the S&P 500 and the eighth largest REIT.”

Welltower called Chapman “a trailblazer in the seniors housing industry” and “an insightful leader and bold innovator in the healthcare real estate investment trust industry.”

“George’s impact on our industry and the people he led was immeasurable,” current Welltower CEO Shankh Mitra said in a statement. “He saw the promise and the role that healthcare real estate could play in impacting the health and well-being of people as they age.

“George understood that companies are living organisms, and through bold leadership, passed on a company that was vastly evolved from that which he inherited in 1996 as its CEO,” Mitra continued. “We are all very grateful to George for his many contributions in building the foundations of making Welltower the great company it is today. On behalf of the entire company, I extend my deepest sympathies to George’s family and friends.”

Prior to joining Welltower, Chapman was a principal at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and joined Welltower from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP, where he had been a senior partner, Welltower said.

Chapman was a longtime board member of the American Seniors Housing Association and Chairman’s Circle supporter of the Seniors Housing PAC. Over the course of his career, he also served on the boards of Benchmark Senior Living, Sunrise Senior Living, OnShift, National Storage Affiliates and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, among other organizations.

A native of Maumee, OH, Chapman earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

“Mr. Chapman will be remembered for his generous support and leadership of all of the major charitable institutions in the Toledo area, national seniors housing industry associations, private healthcare and real estate companies, Maumee High School and Cornell University,” Welltower said in a statement.

Industry associations also expressed their condolences.

“On behalf of Argentum’s board of directors, members and staff, we extend our sincerest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues” of Chapman, Argentum President and CEO James Balda said in a statement. Chapman “was beloved by many, and his loss will be felt by his work partners,” he added. 

ASHA also said it was extending “its deepest sympathies to the friends, family and colleagues.”

“A lawyer by background, George was an innovator (introducing the use of the RIDEA lease structure to senior living in 2010), a mentor to many in the field who will carry on his great legacy of leadership and service, and a philanthropist who supported numerous organizations and causes, including several in Toledo, OH — the University of Toledo, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Symphony,” the association noted.

According to a published obituary, Chapman is survived by his wife, Leslie; sons Caith (Jody), Brian and Eric; a stepdaughter, Elise Ansberg; a “bonus daughter,” Brianna Rotterdam; a sister, Connie (Mike) Dillon; and five grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held May 6 at the Toledo Museum of Art. The family suggests tributes to the Panther Pride Foundation to benefit the Maumee City Schools. Online condolences may be shared at

Jarrod Leo headshot
Jarrod Leo

Messiah Lifeways names Jarrod Leo CFO

Jarrod Leo will join the Messiah Lifeways’ executive team as the next chief financial officer.

Leo has more than 20 years of experience as a finance executive and management consultant. Most recently, he was a senior vice president and CFO for one of the 20 largest multi-site, nonprofit senior housing providers in the country.

Leo’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. He is a licensed certified public accountant in Pennsylvania.

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Craig Wagoner

National Lutheran Communities & Services announces Craig Wagoner as VP of operations

Craig Wagoner has been promoted to vice president of operations at National Lutheran Communities & Services.

Wagoner joined The Village at Rockville, a National Lutheran community in Rockville, MD, as executive director in late 2022. 

With more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership and consulting in the not-for-profit and aging services arenas, his experience includes leading multiple continuing care retirement communities across Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. His prior experience also includes serving as executive director for The Arc of Three Rivers and as CEO of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

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Elizabeth “Lisa” Samelson, MPH, PhD

Hebrew SeniorLife names new associate scientist, associate executive director

Elizabeth “Lisa” Samelson, MPH, PhD, has been promoted to the position of associate scientist at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

Also, Jessica Coleman, former director of Nursing at Hebrew SeniorLife’s NewBridge on the Charles assisted living program, has been named an associate executive director at Hebrew SeniorLife.

Samelson is associate program director for research in the internal medicine residency program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she directs courses on clinical research methods. She received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a PhD in epidemiology from Columbia University. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in musculoskeletal epidemiology at they Boston University School of Medicine.

In Coleman’s new role, she will be assisting with the day-to-day operations and strategic planning at NewBridge and will support Hebrew SeniorLife’s Simon C. Fireman community in Randolph, MA, in a project management capacity.

Debra Duval headshot
Debra Duval

Pegasus welcomes Debra Duval as executive director

Debra Duval has been named executive director at Sterling Court at Roseville, a Pegasus Senior Living community in Roseville, CA.

Duval has more than 23 years of senior living experience, having started as a certified nursing assistant. She became an executive director three years ago. 

LeeAnn Brakefield headshot
LeeAnn Brakefield

Watercrest welcomes LeeAnn Brakefield as executive director

LeeAnn Brakefield has been named the executive director of Watercrest Fort Mill-Indian Land Assisted Living and Memory Care, a Watercrest Senior Living assisted living and  memory care community in Indian Land, SC.

Brakefield spent more than a decade working in skilled, memory and hospice care before earning her long-term care administrator’s license in 2010 and a promotion to executive director.

Fran DeJulius-Rybarski headshot
Fran DeJulius-Rybarski

Anthem Memory Care appoints Fran DeJulius-Rybarski executive director

Fran DeJulius-Rybarski has been named executive director for Emerald Place, an Anthem Memory Care community in Glenview, IL. She will oversee all care, operations and programming. 

DeJulius-Rybarski brings more than 30 years of senior living experience to the position. She previously was executive director of The Auberge at Orchard Park in Morton Grove, IL, as well as executive director for Green Oaks Senior Living in Libertyville, IL.

Michael Dobbs headshot
Michael Dobbs

Sagewood promotes Michael Dobbs to marketing director

Michael Dobbs has been promoted to marketing director at Sagewood.

Dobbs joined Sagewood in 2019. Before then, he worked as a professional actor on the stage and screen in Chicago. He took an organic path to senior living through private estate management, corporate and government relations, event coordination and nonprofit institutional advancement.

Dobbs has an undergraduate degree from Illinois State University. 

Lument adds Jennifer Athas to real estate investment sales team

Jennifer Athas has been named managing director of real estate investment sales at Lument

Athas has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Before joining Lument, she was an investment sales adviser for Berkadia, Institutional Property Investors and Apartment Realty Advisors.

Angus Brown headshot
Angus Brown
Trista French headshot
Trista French
Paula Reenstierna headshot
Paula Reenstierna

Incite Strategic Partners announces new SVP, two promotions

Angus Brown has joined Incite Strategic Partners as senior vice president of business strategy. 

Additionally, Trista French has been promoted to senior vice president of operations. She previously held the title of vice president of operations.

And Paula Reenstierna has been promoted to senior vice president of business partner development. She previously held the role of vice president of business development. 

Brown has more than 29 years of experience in sales and leadership and holds an undergraduate degree in business management and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

French is one of Incite’s co-founders and has more than 20 years of operational experience in the area of senior living group purchasing.

Reenstierna is also a co-founder and has more than 35 years of experience.

Send your personnel news to Lois Bowers at [email protected]. High-quality color headshots are welcome but not required.

Lois Bowers wrote the item about George Chapman.