Independent Living Services will celebrate the 80th birthday of Eleanor Eloise Florentz on Friday.

She is the only child of Nils and Margaret Florentz. Nils Florentz was instrumental in the founding of Conway Human Development Center.

When Eleanor was born her father knew that someday she might need extra care due to her disabilities. Nils, a well-known insurance agent in Conway, researched homes or a facility that would be available if Eleanor ever needed this service. Nils went to friends and leaders in the community and was able to establish funds for CHDC to be built. Nils traveled to other states to view other like facilities to work with an architect to create and design what is now CHDC in Conway. CHDC opened on Sept. 12, 1959. Nils Florentz is recognized with a plaque at the CHDC facility.

With the opening of CHDC and Independent Living Services the two have combined to bring approximately 1,500 jobs for people to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Ellie" as she likes to be called, has been with ILS since 1996. She has lived at the Patterson House facility the entire time. For Nils’s service and commitment to CHDC, a portion of the land that belongs to CHDC was donated to build an ILS facility that has been named in their honor, Florentz Estates. Florentz Estates was built and opened in 2004. It houses 14 co-ed units with all apartment doors opening to the interior of the facility.

Some of Ellie’s favorite things include playing solitaire on her computer, going for rides in the van, putting together 1,000-piece puzzles, shopping at Hobby Lobby, going to church at CHDC and ringing in the bell choir. She loves to read her Bible and is an eloquent writer. Her favorite color is red and she loves flowers of all kinds.

Independent Living Services is a nonprofit agency whose purpose is to assist in making a better life possible for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in central Arkansas. Independent Living Services recognizes each person as different and provides an array of services to best meet individual needs and maximize choice.

A birthday party for Ellie will be 2 p.m. Friday at ILS.