Category Archives: Manor Featured Spotlight

Resident Spotlight: Meet Mary Ann

Some people posses the magic of finding themselves in the right place at the right time – and Mary Ann, who has now lived at Oakmont Manor for the past year, is one of those people. A common thread of fortunate happenstance has followed her through her life including randomly meeting her future husband in a crowded restaurant and coming across an ad for unexpected hobby that would become her passion.

But good fortune smiles brightest on those who are willing to work and sacrifice for their successes, which Mary Ann has done her whole life. And thanks to her tireless energy and kind spirit, all who’ve met and gotten to know her over the years have become the beneficiaries of fortunate happenstance, too.

Here’s her story…

From General Motors to Gleefully Married

Born in Detroit, Mary Ann grew up on the East Side and attended Denby High School with many of her cousins and close family members. Like so many of her generation from the Motor City, she graduated and went to work at General Motors – serving as an Executive Secretary to a department director for several years. Then, happenstance struck: Mary Ann was introduced to the man who would soon become her husband in the most unique of ways.

“We were waiting in a bar restaurant for a table and this man was eating by himself,” she said of the night they met. “So, the host asked would we like to sit with him? Would we mind having to share a table?” The rest, as they say, is history, and when that man would later ask Mary Ann to be his wife, her answer was a resounding yes. The couple was soon married, and with a daughter on the way, Mary Ann decided to leave GM and stay home to raise her family.

From Mom to Manager

The family moved to Shelby Township and life was good. Mary Ann stayed home with her daughter, while her husband supervised many different locations of Chatham’s supermarkets in the area. The family did plenty of traveling  – leaving for two-week getaways just about every year. Her favorite vacation spot was St. Petersburg, Florida, though big city or small, she relished the chance to experience new things and see new places.

As her daughter grew older and more independent, Mary Ann decided it was time to get back into the workforce. She started in Real Estate, but eventually found employment and fulfillment doing something she truly loved: helping others. She found a job at Catholic Service in Macomb, working as a program director for a senior companion program. Using both federal and state funds, the innovative program trained workers to assist at-risk seniors in their homes, free of charge. “At one point, I had 30 people working for me,” Mary Ann said of the extremely successful initiative.

After many years at Catholic Services and grandchildren on the horizon, Mary Ann decided it was time to retire. But those who know her best weren’t surprised when Mary Ann’s retirement didn’t last very long.

Happenstance Strikes Again

Always one who is up for a new challenge, the life-long traveler was again the beneficiary of happenstance’s mysterious fortunes when she saw an ad for an upcoming bus trip. She decided then and there that, thanks to her extensive travel and management experience, organizing trips would be something that she could do for fun. “I saw an ad for a trip and called on it because I like to travel,” she said. “The lady who was in charge of the trip was in Lansing, so I knew I wouldn’t be any competition [to her if I stared planning trips]. Now, I’ve been doing it for eight years.”

Mary Ann plans and enjoys three-to-four trips a year including a recent trip to New York with almost 50 passengers and an upcoming trip to Florida’s gulf-side beaches. “The big thing is, I just pick places I want to go, and that’s where we go,” she said, laughing. Trips usually include plans to visit museums, restaurants, tourist attractions, and at least one fancy dinner with entertainment that combines passengers from several tours. “We’ve met people [at that dinner] from Detroit – people we knew!,” she said excitedly. “They just happened to be on another bus tour.”

Now, a year into life at Oakmont Manor, Mary Ann is thrilled with her decision to join the community. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said of life at Oakmont Manor. “I really think it is a beautiful place and it just has so much atmosphere.”

With her kind heart, warm smile, and all-around bubbly personality, that atmosphere at Oakmont Manor is no-doubt a little brighter since Mary Ann moved in.

Meet Angela

Walk through the lobby of Oakmont Manor, and there’s a good chance you’ll run into Angela, surrounded by neighbors and friends, holding court in the café. Of her many talents, bringing people together is perhaps the most evident off of the bat – but get to know her better, and you’ll realize she’s a trailblazer from the Big City who lives every moment to the fullest.

Big City Roots with a Small Town Upbringing

Life for Angela began in the Empire State. She was born right in the heart of New York City but was raised in the rural atmosphere of what was then a sparsely developed Long Island. “I enjoyed growing up there immensely,” she said of her Long Island roots. “I enjoyed the freedom of running through the tall grass with bare feet, and the whole scenario [of that lifestyle].”

With five siblings and two loving parents, the time spent with her family was some of the happiest of her life. Her mother and father, though very different in temperament, helped instill long-lasting lessons in love that have trickled all the way down to her own children and grandchildren. “My mother was a very calm, placid, and unruffled person,” she says, smiling. “She was a lady of very few words, but, in her own quiet way, could speak volumes. My father, on the other hand, was very loquacious, talkative. He loved, as we used to call it, “sermonizing,” but he always helped guide us.”

Unfortunately, Angela was just 13 when he father passed, but her mother continued to raise her and her five brothers and sisters in a happy and loving environment. She credits the strength of her family and her mother as the driving force behind the success of all of her siblings. “I don’t know if it was fate, kismet, or just luck, but we all did well.”

A Man to Marry and a Move to Michigan

Angela was serving with the USO when she met the man who would become both her husband and the father of her children – though it almost didn’t happen. She was late for their first date thanks to her apprehension, but after finally meeting, they fell quickly in love – marrying and moving to a new state together. “He had just gotten out of the Airforce, and his promise was we’d just come to Michigan for one year, get on our feet, and then go back to New York. But that last part never happened,” she said, laughing.

The year was 1953, and while her husband went to work at General Motors, Angela got a job just two days after arriving in Michigan with an insurance company – balancing the responsibilities of being a new mother, professional secretary, and loving wife all in an unfamiliar location. “I was totally lost in Michigan. I had no family, no friends – so I got a job that I worked every summer. To this day, I am still friends with the remaining people that I worked with.”

The family soon moved to Livonia, where they had four additional children, and indulged in one of their favorite pastimes: Traveling. “I came from the East Coast and we had family on the West Coast, so we used to travel across the country just like it was going around the block,” she said. “Plane travel in those days was very easy, you didn’t even need a reservation! So, on a spur the moment, you could make a plan and say ‘okay, let’s go!”

Loving Life at Oakmont

The move to Oakmont Manor wasn’t one that Angela had originally planned, but after her husband moved into Oakmont Sterling Enhanced next door, she soon realized it was the perfect fit. “They were wonderful for my husband when he moved there,” she said of the staff at Oakmont Sterling Enhanced, “and because I was here all the time, I saw a lot of this building. I believe I put a deposit down three or four times before finally selling my house and moving in,” she said.

Of her new life at Oakmont, Angela pulls no punches. “I find that life here is what you make it, and I choose to enjoy every minute of it,” she said. “I find that the whole ambiance of this particular facility is so refreshing, and the staff is totally outstanding. I really enjoy living here.”