“In every port in the world, at least two Estonians can be found.” -Ernest Hemingway
We are delighted to have our very own Estonian, Detta V., right here in the Highlands at Kensington Park!
Detta’s life journey started in Europe. She was born in a refugee camp after WWII when her mother Ilse, father Eduard, and older sister Viia fled Estonia. The family headed to the U.S. and lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for three years. Next, it was a short stop in New Jersey, then onto Chester, Pennsylvania, where Detta attended public school. Her education path was significant, attending Arcadia University followed by The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees. There is no question where Detta got her drive for a good education. Her mother received her master’s degree in 1928 from the oldest university in Estonia, an achievement almost unheard of for a female at that time. Her father and mother spoke 12 languages, none of them being English! It was not until their arrival in the U.S. in 1950 that English became one of their spoken languages.
In Washington, DC, Detta’s impressive career began as a secretary at a major accounting firm. Then, she moved to the National Science Foundation. Her next place of employment was with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) with the very same boss for thirty-three years! It was at the FDIC in 2002 that Detta was honored with a Board of Director’s Resolution. During her tenure, she conceived of and helped implement the establishment of the International Association of Deposit Insurers based in Switzerland.
The finance world gave Detta opportunities to travel the globe to places like Italy, Switzerland and Chile, just to name a few. One of her most memorable experiences took place in Rome, when a shared cab ride led Detta to a unique opportunity. Among the other passengers was a reporter for Time Magazine who asked if Detta and her colleagues would be interested in going to the Vatican to witness a canonization. Detta jumped at the opportunity and said it was quite an experience!
After Detta’s retirement from the FDIC, you would think she would enjoy free time and relax! Instead, Detta and a friend partnered in creating a business that specializes in health care communications, which allowed Detta to use her excellent language (she is trilingual) and listening skills. This adventure opened Detta the world of senior living and her involvement with the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, GROWS and DCSRG. As a Town of Kensington homeowner, Detta served on the board of the Kensington Historical Society and continues to be involved in the community that she loves.
With quieter days ahead, Detta hopes to spend more time enjoying the performing arts. Her deep love of music stems from her father’s time as a concert soloist in the Estonian Men’s Choir. Her idea of a dream concert would pair Pavarotti and Elvis. What a show that would be!
“Never compromise your integrity or humanity” is a practice Detta works for daily, following her father’s example. It is truly a pleasure to have Detta as a part of our Kensington Park family. She is kind, funny, smart and so very caring to all. Her presence is a present to us all!
So to Hemingway’s famous quote, Kensington Park is grateful to be the “port” for this Estonian, Detta.