Marlene and Don Zahn are just one of the many happy couples enjoying life at Tessera of Brandon, and they recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Don is an artist and poet who uses his art and poetry to inspire others.

Marlene and Don Zahn are just one of the many happy couples enjoying life at Tessera of Brandon. The couple recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

Don is a retired architect who owned his own business and also worked at Winn-Dixie in the design department. He is a pastor and has taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. He has done art since he was in grade school.

Marlene is thankful Don had his art and poetry to help keep him busy.

“My artwork is from a desire to create beautiful art and it also gives me something to do to take up the time since moving to Tessera,” Don said. “I enjoy sharing the artwork with the residents, some of whom seem to appreciate many of the pictures and have started scrap books.”

Up until about a year ago, Don drew with his right hand, but then he developed an essential tremor and lost the ability to draw. But, not giving up, he switched to his left hand.

“It is getting more and more difficult to use my left hand since they both tremble. When I first started the art here at Tessera, it wasn’t so hard,” Don said.

A lot of Don’s art before he came to Tessera of Brandon was done to illustrate the poetry that God gave him or a passage from God’s word. Much of the poetry was to help the children who attended his Sunday school classes remember their lessons.

“God has allowed me to write over 300 poems as a way of sharing God’s word,” Don said.

One of the poems he wrote was to help him heal from the pain of seeing his father battle Alzheimer’s.

“Why he got Alzheimer’s, I do not know,” Don said. “We never lost our faith in God, and we never believed that God was punishing him or us. God has used our experience to help others. As the Scripture says in 2 Corinthians, ‘we are to comfort those with the comfort that God gives us.’”

Don plans to continue writing poetry and doing his “quarantine art,” as he calls it, so he can keep sharing and inspiring others with the word of God.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.