The Bluffs to open in spring.
The Bluffs to open in spring.
“I was totally oblivious to the danger, but I do believe the snake was more scared than I was,” said Mars. “The cobra was on its tail end and all puffed up, slithering down a hill with the chicken in its mouth.”
If that wasn’t enough, Mars also remembered the baboons coming out at night. “They would pluck lemons off our trees and throw them on our tin roof. Then, they would laugh,” Mars recalled. “They knew exactly what they were doing.”
With a dignified English accent, Mars’ dazzling life began in England, about 73 years ago. She also lived in Nigeria, where her first husband was stationed with NASA installing satellite communication stations. “I went to work as a nurse there,” she said. “Because it was in the interior, they would give me a big box of medications and bandages and I’d take them to our house to attend to the people in the villages.”
After losing her husband to melanoma, Mars came to the United States in 1978 as a single “mum” of five children. “We lived in Houston, then later moved to Ft. Worth, totaling 33 years in Texas.”
Holding an impressive string of credentials, Mars obtained her Registered Nursing degree in England and holds an associate’s degree in mental health, a bachelor’s degree in health care administration, a master’s in psychology and clinical psychology and she’s currently finishing up her doctorate degree in health care administration.
“I’ve been an executive director in health care since 1999,” she said.
Working alongside Mars, The Bluffs Community Relations Director Leah Veschio, R.N., says that Mars is set on making sure seniors have the best life possible. “Janet has dedicated her whole life toward health care in one capacity or another and is a very experienced executive director.”
In 2011, Mars made her debut in Flagstaff when she was recruited to The Peaks.
A bit of fate and serendipity played a big part in her current position. “While secret shopping for land and playing with the possibility of building a senior living facility here in Flagstaff, my former employers from Texas, Wayne and Misty Powell, came to my workplace and saw my nametag on my office door. There’s only one Janet Mars, right?” she said with a grin.
Deciding to purchase land in Flagstaff and build a new senior care facility, the Powells asked Mars if she would work for them as executive director. “They even asked me what I would name the property and I said, The Bluffs. I was greatly honored they would trust my opinion.”
“The Powells, along with corporate partners Amy and Cooper Vittitow, who started their company Civitas Senior Living, are four amazing people and we have become great friends,” said Mars.
“I met Janet 15 years ago when she was an executive director of a senior living community in Fort Worth,” said Civitas Senior Living Chief Marketing Officer Amy Vittitow. “When my CEO and I met her again in Flagstaff, it was as if the stars had aligned for us and we knew she was the right person to achieve our vision for a wonderful community for senior living in Flagstaff. She was and is such a well-known and trusted advisor for senior living and has a trusted reputation wherever she goes.”
Vittitow added that Mars is the kind of professional you want leading your community, taking care of your loved ones. “She does all of this with such grace and integrity.”
“Currently, Civitas has 60 communities around the country. The Bluffs will be their flagship community and the most expensive they’ve built so far. It’s going to be gorgeous and I feel very honored to be the person who will be managing the property.”
The Bluffs at Flagstaff will be home to 212 residents total: 123 independent living, 25 memory care and 64 assisted living. “We were going to open in December, but we had a delay and are now are scheduled to open in March 2022,” said Mars.
Just under a year ago, Mars found herself battling cancer. “It was the first health setback I’ve ever had,” she said. “My red hair was my signature, but it faded away and went white. I’m still getting used to it, but I feel great.”
Mars and her husband, Charles, a materials buyer at W. L. Gore & Associates, love to travel and find new places to eat. “We have a camper and love to go to Lo Lo Mai Springs in Cornville.”
The couple has 22 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. FBN
By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN