Alicia and Joe Stine speak glowingly about Homeland, and they should know. Both have served on Homeland boards, brought family and friends here for care, and stay at Homeland whenever they need rehabilitation services.
“The Stine family has always believed in Homeland,” Alicia says. “We have always been supportive of Homeland and always will be.”
Right now, Alicia and Joe are residents receiving care and physical therapy while she recuperates from an injury. From their bright, two-room suite, they reminisced about a life in service to the military and community institutions, including Homeland, as well as a loving partnership that started as a blind date.
Natives of central Pennsylvania will almost certainly recognize Joe’s name – as in, Joe, the Motorists’ Friend, which sold auto parts and an eclectic range of other goods, from sporting goods to train sets. Joe’s father, Joe Stine, Sr., founded the popular chain of stores in 1928. Joe, Jr., would rise to president and help grow the company to 40 branches.
Before those years, Joe was a student and ROTC member at Franklin and Marshall College, followed by service at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas to fulfill his military obligation. His dates with local women never led to second dates, until friends arranged a blind date with Alicia.
“She was smart,” he says. “She was pretty.”
They were married in Laredo, the Pennsylvania Dutch boy marrying the Catholic girl from a Mexican family. That was in 1956.
“This has been a 63-year romance,” Alicia says now. Their home is a circa-1826 house with eight fireplaces. Alicia says that Joe has “always been my cook.”
“Only on the days that we eat,” he zips back.
Joe served in the Air National Guard, rising to brigadier general. Active duty took time away from work and family, but Alicia was proud of his accomplishment.
“I think he did it because he was president of a corporation, but he was the son of the CEO,” she says. “While he was in the service, every grade he got, he got on his own merit.”
The loves of their lives have been their three children, Joey, Anita, and Mark.
The couple made sure that all three got excellent schooling.
“Joe and I always felt if we could give the kids anything, it would be a good education,” says Alicia.
Alicia and Joe now have four grandchildren. Tragically, Joey died in a car accident as an adult. Today, Anita and Mark both live in nearby Mechanicsburg. They visit their parents daily, including Mark’s routine of stopping by for a drink with his dad before dinner.
Through it all, the Stines have been civic leaders.
Joe chaired the Merchants & Business Men's Mutual Insurance Co. Alicia calls herself a “professional volunteer,” serving on the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra board and with the former PinnacleHealth auxiliary.
She also dove into politics. When she learned that East Pennsboro Township, their home municipality, needed a treasurer, she volunteered and was appointed to serve out the term.
When her term ended, she decided to run for another. She was a registered Democrat from her days in Texas, but she won in the heavily Republican township, even getting financial help for printing yard signs from her decidedly Republican father-in-law.
Years later, she felt that the township board of commissioners needed a woman, so she ran and won again, serving a total of six years. Currently, she sits on the board of the Fredericksen Library in Camp Hill.
Homeland entered their lives when friends of Alicia’s suggested she serve on the Board of Managers, which is responsible for enhancing resident life. Joe then joined the Homeland Board of Trustees, serving during the critical period when a former director resigned. When Barry Ramper II interviewed for the job, Joe told his fellow search committee members, “As far as I’m concerned, if he’ll take the job, we can give it to him.” Ramper has been president and CEO since 2000, leading Homeland to its five-star Medicare quality designation.
Joe’s mother, whose life spanned from the 1890s to 2000, spent her final years in Homeland, and “never in those seven years did we have any problems,” says Alicia.
Joe’s sister and two dear friends also spent their last days at Homeland, all receiving excellent care. Whenever Joe recuperates from back operations, the Stines come to Homeland. The staff is always helpful and cheerful, and across all those years, many of the faces haven’t changed.
“No one has more respect and admiration for Homeland than we do,” Alicia says. “Homeland has always been our first choice. This is a place that has been the Stine family’s home away from home.”