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Mary Frances ("Frampie") Ailey



Frampie moved to Kendal at Oberlin from Ashtabula, Ohio, on October 22, 1993, with her husband Robert. She continued with her volunteering and hobbies once they moved here. She also served as chair of the Kendal flower committee. She and Bob enjoyed dancing with fellow residents.


Once a driver came to Kendal to pick up “Mary Ailey,” and he was surprised that there was another Ailey here, not knowing that it was the same person. She herself doesn't even respond it when someone in a doctor's office calls for “Mary Ailey.” “Frampie” has been her name since the first grade.


Frampie is a familiar face to other residents and to staff here at Kendal. One of the things she is widely known for is her baking, particularly her meringues! Real friends, she says, know she is not really a cook. She cooked because she had to, and she started making meringues as a holiday treat. But even now that she lives in the Stephens Care Center and has limited vision, she has continued to share her confection treats with a little help from friends.


Frampie enjoys gardening, and loves it when flowers are in bloom. She says that she can still get down on her knees, but cannot get back up. Around her first cottage, she had a big garden and even put out a bird feeder, but the birds never came. After she moved to another cottage where she no longer had a feeder, however, the birds discovered the wreath hanging on her front door and made it their home. The bird parents never made a peep when Frampie went in or out of her cottage, and showed no sign of being anxious or disturbed. She has no idea what possessed them to nest there. Her neighbor Al McQueen took the great picture of the nesting wreath. But the birds really messed up the wreath, so once the babies fledged, Frampie threw the wreath out and got a new one. She even put birdseed in it, hoping the birds would make a new nest there, but they never did. She decided to give up: “the birds just do what they do.”


Given the loss of a spouse, issues of aging, and the possible ills that face many of us in our nineties, Frampie says that growing old is not easy. But, given the realities, this is the best place to be! She believes it’s important to be flexible throughout all the stages of life. When she was working with AFS exchange students, she urged them to be flexible with cultural differences in their field experiences.


Frampie has had three careers: in nursing, as a homemaker/mother, and in interior design. In each of the three, it is really important to listen carefully to what people are saying and offer suggestions – but not push. Good advice for us all.

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