A widower with a reverse mortgage has apparently walked away from his home in The Villages, leaving his former neighbors with a deteriorating eyesore.

Richard Deschenes on Jan. 13 lost his wife, 88-year-old wife Theresa “Terri” Deschenes. They married in 1953 and settled down in New Jersey where they operated the Carriage Club restaurant where Terri, who had previously performed with Guy Lombardo, entertained each evening. They retired in 2005 to The Villages. A celebration of Terri’s life was held at their home at 7214 SE 171ST Brookhaven Place in the Village of Chatham.

Richard Deschenes has reportedly returned to New Jersey to be with family.

His home in The Villages was the subject of a public hearing Friday afternoon before the Community Development District 4 Board of Supervisors.

The Deschenes property at 7214 SE 171ST Brookhaven Place.

A complaint about overgrown grass and weeds at the property was received Oct. 14 by Community Standards. The violation was verified the following day.

The utilities have been turned off at the home and from all appearances, the 89-year-old has walked away from the property. 

Community Standards has had no contact with Deschenes. Any previous emergency contact numbers have been disconnected.

Thomas Scoggins lives across the street from the property.

“His wife passed away. They lost her Social Security money. He did not have enough money to keep up the house,” Scoggins testified.

He described it as an “unfortunate” situation.

“But I don’t think the neighbors should have to live with this. The grass is two feet high. Everybody else has Christmas decorations up,” Scoggins said.

He said no one should hold out hope that Deschenes or anyone from his family will be coming back to Brookhaven Place.

“When they walked away, they walked away. They don’t feel they have any responsibility,” Scoggins said. 

The board unanimously voted to find the homeowner in violation of deed compliance. He was given three days to bring the property into compliance. If not, he will face a series of fines. The District will maintain the property twice a month in the summer and once a month in the winter. Each time it is maintained, the homeowner will face a $250 fine.

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