Fran Ogle, The Consummate Entertainer

 

Fran Ogle’s apartment at Vi at Palo Alto is filled with reminders of a longtime bon-vivant lifestyle -- especially her collection of dishware. She has place settings for every occasion: plain white dishes, vibrant Fiestaware, even holiday-themed dishes designed to be used just once a year.

Before moving into Vi in 2009, Ogle lived in a nearby Menlo Park neighborhood called Sharon Heights. She spent her married life there with with her husband, Kelly, and their three children: a son, who now lives in Utah, and two daughters, who now live nearby.

Through the years, the couple loved to invite friends over for meals; Kelly manned the grill for summer barbecues, and after the couple took a Chinese cooking class together, they loved to create Asian feasts for their dinner guests.

“We had a lot of fun entertaining,” Ogle said. “I loved to set the table for those dinner parties.”

Even family dinners were an occasion: Ogle prepared fried chicken, meatloaf, and Sunday roasts regularly. “It was nothing fancy,” Ogle says, but those dinners created memories to last a lifetime: Ogle’s children still recreate many of her recipes on Thanksgiving, but now they’re the ones doing the cooking.

After the Ogles’ children moved out of the house, Fran turned to entertaining on a professional level: She worked for a local hospitality group for 15 years, helping arrange large events and assisting in the company’s test kitchen.

Setting the Table at Vi

The couple remained in the welcoming home for most of their life together. Kelly suggested one day that they schedule a tour of Vi at Palo Alto.

“We knew something was the matter when he suggested a tour,” Ogle said. “He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died within a few months.” Despite the circumstances, the community instantly felt like home to her, and Ogle put her name on the waiting list for an apartment shortly after Kelly’s passing in 2008. A year later, she moved into Vi at Palo Alto.

Ogle downsized considerably before moving into the community — she and her daughters worked together over the course of a year to pare down her belongings in preparation for moving from her Sharon Heights home into her apartment at Vi at Palo Alto. And though she sold many of the table settings that gave her dinner parties such character,  her favorite dishes made the trip.

Since moving into Vi at Palo Alto, Ogle has stepped up to act as an entertainer in new ways. She volunteers as a Resident Ambassador with the community’s sales team, offering prospects a glimpse into her corner of the community by opening her home to show them what her life at Vi is like.

“She’s enthusiastically embraced this community,” said Mike Wilson, Vi at Palo Alto’s Sales Director. “Mrs. Ogle is one of the kindest, most welcoming human beings I’ve ever met.”

She also continues to hold court at dinner parties of a sort — now they just take place in Vi at Palo Alto’s dining room.

“There’s a group I eat dinner with on a regular basis — and most of them are widow ladies like me, so we have a lot in common,” she said. “They’ve become good friends, and we’re all in the same boat.”

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