Jean Cherni had a “commuter marriage” before the term was invented. And at age 85, she is still working, by choice.

Cherni has broken through many social and demographic limitations, to make life better not only for herself, but for countless others. She is a licensed Realtor and a Certified Senior Advisory (CSA). Throughout her work life, “at almost at every turning point in a rather checkered career, [my progress] has been influenced by a woman,” she said.

Cherni learned how to master the checkerboard. During the first leg of her career, she developed people-placement skills in the executive-relocation sphere. These same skills now serve seniors relocating from their homes to assisted living facilities. Cherni finds candidates and makes referrals to hundreds of assisted-living and continuing-care facilities from New Hampshire to Florida, with which Pearce Plus Relocations, a subsidiary of Pearce Plus LLC, has contracts.

Cherni graduated from college with a degree in political science. Prospective employers only asked whether she could type. She married a mechanical and nuclear engineer; the family moved often, in a peripatetic career journey that took her from Chicago to post-World War II Japan in the agrarian town of Toki Mura, with two preschool children. She debuted a writing career at a tourist magazine. Once stateside, she worked at Century 21 and then Coldwell Banker as a regional trainer. After her husband’s mandatory retirement at age 65, she took the jobholder lead in her household and lived the “commuter marriage” life for two years.

When Coldwell Banker restructured from a franchise operation to individually-owned offices, her training job was eliminated. Then in her 70s, she found a job at one of the country’s first assisted living communities, which later went bankrupt due to managerial problems. But even this setback wasn’t the end of the show – Cherni sensed that there was a need for such facilities, and that a real estate agent’s skill was a critical component of the relocation process. So she started her own company, Senior Living Solutions, 15 years ago, and two years later, joined Pearce Senior Relocation.

Cherni is actively involved with the Shoreline Eldercare Alliance; she is a member of the New Haven Senior Council, and serves on the advisory board of the state Agency on Aging. She also writes a weekly column for the New Haven Register, “Senior Moments,” to address these issues. In this way, she’s spreading her knowledge to the next two generations.

Jean Cherni

by Christina P. O'Neill time to read: 2 min