PLANTATION PEOPLE PROFILE: Bill and Jan Ames

By: Tony Edwards

Back in the early 1990s, Bill and Jan Ames had designs on moving to warmer climes…. They had been in Herndon, Fairfax County, VA, for the past 10 years but had taken a liking to the Florida Gulf Coast and had even picked out Cape Coral as their eventual retirement destination. But it was an ad in the Washington Post for a comparatively new gated community in northeast NC that caught their eye. They came down on a four-day Albemarle Plantation Discovery Package to see the development for themselves.

The visit was a success despite the fact that they never met a full-time realty sales rep. during their visit. On arrival at the sales office, all the sales personnel were tied up so an intern, Jimmy Gray, was asked to show them around. Out of two lots they looked at and liked they chose the one nearest the Marina on Yeopim Circle as they had thoughts of bringing their 25’ power boat with them. Young Jimmy was speechless when Bill and Jan told him they were ready to purchase the Fairview lot and he did not know what to do!

But let’s back up a little…

Jan was born and raised in Pennsylvania and moved with her parents and two younger siblings to Kensington, Maryland, for her father’s new job in the Naval Office in Washington, DC. Jan’s first job was in the “Main Navy” complex in downtown Washington, DC, as a civilian administrator.

Bill, an Arlington, VA, native, had always wanted to be a fire-man since high school and on reaching the minimum entry age of 21, he applied and was accepted. He thought it was way better than his first job: delivering mail for the Post Office! Bill continued a successful progression “up the ladder” in the Arlington Fire Dept., reaching the rank of Lieutenant in 1972.
Jan had moved from her “Main Navy” government job to a research foundation located on the Georgetown campus and staffed by “Lady PhDs” as Jan described it! And later she joined the lobbying firm, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA). During this time Jan moved to an apartment complex in Arlington, VA. It was here that the building’s resident manager suggested she meet his good friend, Bill Ames. So she did, and in just seven months they were married! That was in March of 1981. Jan continued her successful career with INGAA while Bill earned promotion to Captain (1982), then to Station Commander (1985) and eventually to Battalion Chief in 1987. After a long and distinguished career, Bill retired from the force in early 1995.

With Bill retired it didn’t take too long before they built their home on their Fairview lot, and when Jan retired from INGAA, the couple moved in in July 1998.

They were new residents in this small but growing community. The phone list was barely one page long! Everyone helped everyone and Bill was called on for his fireman’s experience on more than one occasion…. In fact we owe it to Bill that we still have the lovely Club-house in its original state. One morning, Bill was called by the Clubhouse Manager, Jean Smith, who was very worried about a foul smell when she opened the Club-house front door. Bill quickly deduced that the smell was natural gas and instructed that all the doors be thrown wide open. It turned out that the gas in the kitchen had been left on all night and filled the building. Bill said, “Just one spark would have blown the building apart and the cupola would have landed in what is now your back yard, Tony!”

In the nearly 20 years Jan and Bill have enjoyed living at AP, they highlighted the strong sense of community and the wonderful people they have met. “The spirit of helping one another is the very best feature of AP” Jan said. Bill and Jan have both played golf at AP for many years. Jan took up the game here, taking lessons from Jim Nordurft and going on to be secretary under Merry Johansen (2002-2003) and then on to be President in 2012-2013 of the Sound Links Women’s Golf Association (SLWGA) and has been the key liaison with pro golfers for each of the four years the annual Biggs Classic Tournament has been held at AP. She said she got her early introduction to golf “mulligans” before she even knew the meaning of the term or had ever played the game. While still employed at INGAA Jan was asked to help with the company’s annual golf tourney, held that year in La Costa, CA, and was put in charge of collecting the mulligan money. It added up to a large amount and she had to travel all the way back home with the cash in a big envelope! Jan deserves a free mulligan for that!
Bill was a past President of the Sound Links Men’s Golf Association. He remembers when the numbers were so small, foursomes were picked by the late George Bero outside the Clubhouse Pro Shop on men’s days. “19th hole” adult beverages were consumed in the pool room that is now our library!

Bill and Jan have and will continue to do a lot of traveling. I hope they will agree to write about their travels for a future Soundings publication. Thank you both for your contributions to our Plantation community!