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  • Writer's pictureFrank Finamore

From Frank ... celebrating life's teachers

Our neighbor Marilyn Wandrus died late last month at 96 and the world lost a beautiful soul, the Village lost our oldest member, and many of us, lost a friend.

Marilyn Wandrus, 1927-2023

When I tell people that I’m privileged to have the job that I do, what I am referring to is the opportunity to get to know so many people, like Marilyn, that I wouldn’t likely meet otherwise. I had the good fortune to meet Marilyn in late-2019, when she had just turned 92. I had just accepted the position as Executive Director in a car pool ride home ended up seated next to her. We immediately hit it off. My first impression was a lasting one – she was an incredibly engaging and fiercely independent woman.


She had so many stories. I loved hearing about hearing of her childhood in Peru, Indiana, then the winter quarters of the American Circus Corporation, or her story of when Cole Porter invited her and her sister in his house for iced tea. Then there was the time when her father, a barber, got into trouble with the KKK for cutting the hair of anyone that walked into his shop. I soaked these stories up because they painted such a fuller picture of her life.


I learned from her too. She taught me how to give help, always framed as an offer and only provided on her terms. I am so thankful for the gift of her friendship and the experiences we shared and the lessons she imparted. Though I am always sad to lose a friend, I am ever thankful to our Village community for connecting us.


I hope this is the added benefit of the Village for all our members and volunteers. We never know what we might receive from others and what we have to give. Each program, activity, or volunteer service is an opportunity to open our hearts to the beauty and magnificence of others. Thank you, Marilyn, for showing me.


Frank Finamore is Executive Director of the Village.

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