A Life Filled with Love: Paul’s Run Resident Shares her Story

January 12, 2021

Freda and Bernie at their daughter's wedding.Paul’s Run resident, Freda, enjoys living with her loving husband, Bernie, in their spacious apartment at Paul’s Run. As she and Bernie continue to live active lifestyles throughout their retirement, they look forward to safely spending time with the friends, families, and neighbors of this community.

Freda who is proud to be in her mid 90s and living well, says that her entire life has been surrounded by love, and for that, she feels abundantly grateful.

“I have known love from the day I was born, and that has been so helpful to me. That’s the one thing I feel has benefitted my entire life.”

Freda and Bernie previously lived in a 55+ community cottage. There, they loved to entertain their many friends and family. Bernie, who is quite the chef, would cook lovely meals for all of their guests and he even taught cooking classes to neighbors of the community. As they enjoyed their independent lifestyle, with age, Freda and Bernie began to realize the challenges of living in their cottage alone.

Finding Paul’s Run…

With this realization becoming quite a burden on their everyday lives, the couple decided to tour some local retirement communities. Sadly, they were disappointed with their options. “It was very upsetting,” says Freda. “We were really sad to think that we’d have to live in one of those places.”

Freda says the apartments in other communities were far too small for their lifestyle. Unhappy with their search, Bernie’s daughter-in-law suggested that they tour Paul’s Run. With just one visit to the community, the couple knew this was the perfect place for their new home.

“We came to Paul’s Run and with one tour I said, ‘this is it.'”

When Freda saw the spacious apartments at Paul’s Run with skilled nursing services available 24/7, along with the long list of safe and engaging activities on the community calendar, it made her and Bernie’s decision to move remarkably easy.

Since moving to the community in October of 2019, Freda and Bernie have enjoyed meeting their wonderful neighbors. “We’ve made many friends rather quickly,” she shares smiling. And they’ve developed close relationships with the staff who Bernie and Freda describe as incredibly kind.

“We are so happy here. The people are so wonderful, all of them. Every professional who works here is at the very top of their skill level. They’re excellent.”

Having been around healthcare professionals for the majority of her life, Freda certainly understands the meaning of quality care. “Anything you need to know is written in my memoir,” she explains. Freda wrote her self-published memoir at 88 years old, and it resides in the library of Paul’s Run. Full of the many stories from throughout Freda’s lifetime, she greatly enjoys sharing her tales of success, happiness, and love with new friends in the community. And understandably so, as Freda has quite the story to tell.

Freda’s Story

Freda was born in the midst of The Great Depression to two wonderful parents. Through her early childhood years, Freda and her family lived on a 40-acre farm in New Jersey. “I remember playing with all of the chickens and the geese,” she smiles. She also remembers her early education in a one-room schoolhouse. “Each row of seats was a different grade level, and there was a large potbelly stove in the middle of the room for heat,” she recalls.

At the age of seven, Freda’s family moved from their 40-acre farm in New Jersey to the Strawberry Mansion region of Philadelphia. There, Freda remembers her first day of second grade when her mother took her to school two hours late. The teacher, upset about Freda’s tardiness, shook and scolded her in front of the entire class.

“I believe that experience made me a very shy child,” Freda notes, adding that throughout her later years of schooling she became terrified of public speaking and lost interest in her studies.

As Freda became less interested in her education, she met the first love of her life, her late first husband, Leonard (Len). Eloping to Len when she was just 16 years old, Freda left high school by the 11th grade. “And fate was sealed,” she says. Freda spent her late teenage years and early twenties parenting their new-born daughter, Sharon, while Len was drafted into the military. When he returned from the service, they moved their small family of three to an even smaller apartment in North Philadelphia.

This is where Freda met her neighbor who worked at Philadelphia General Hospital (PGH). She’d come home from work and share great stories that made Freda aspire to be more than just a mother.

“I was so bored at home,” she says. “I told my friend I would love to go to work.” Freda’s friend helped her obtain an interview at PGH and she began working there in 1949. This is where Freda’s career in healthcare first began.

Becoming Assistant Director of Temple University Hospital

I was amazed to see that I could learn anything I wanted to, if I had the desire.

Throughout the years, after her experience in a variety of roles in hospitals across a number of cities, Freda managed to break barriers for women in healthcare, particularly in her role at Temple University Hospital (TUH).

Beginning her work at TUH in 1963, Freda was hired as an executive secretary. “When I first started working there, it was very disorganized,” she says disappointedly. “The first thing I did was develop a telephone book for them. Which strangely enough gave me such an advantage moving forward.” In creating the hospital’s phone book, Freda expanded her contact list and learned each employee’s name and position.

With her unbeatable combination of dedication and ability to make meaningful connections, Freda worked her way up to becoming Assistant Director. “That was one of my proudest accomplishments,” she says. Along the way, she spearheaded new developments like the Unit Management program for the Department of Medicine and created a Dialysis Unit with the help of her colleagues. She received several awards like The Martha Caswell Award for Woman of the Year and was named the University Ambassador of Good Will by the Alumni Association.

As Assistant Director, Freda oversaw administration for multiple departments including pathology, radiology, and cardiology. Wearing many hats and assuming many responsibilities, Freda’s professional plate was certainly full. And just when she thought her career couldn’t possibly become more rewarding, her beloved husband Len began working at TUH as well in the Department of Microbiology.

Thrilled with their shared career success, Freda felt motivated to continue the education she left behind many years ago. While working at TUH, Freda completed her GED, earned her undergraduate degree and began pursuing her doctorate.

Overcoming Loss and Finding Love Again

In May of 1986, Freda’s husband Len was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away that summer. Len’s diagnosis and passing was a shock to Freda and her family, and their grief for a remarkable man who was adored by many was incredibly challenging.

Freda was comforted by the kind words and loving care she received from dear friends and family during this difficult time. And she was deeply touched when Temple University Hospital’s Department of Microbiology honored Len by creating The Annual Leonard E. Tevelson Memorial Lecture.

It was two years later, after her retirement from Temple, when Freda met Bernie. Feeling incredibly lucky to find love again, Freda describes her now husband of 30 years as a truly wonderful person.

I have had two wonderful husbands. A life filled with love. I am so lucky. So fortunate.

Freda met Bernie through a patient she had become friendly with during her previous work at Temple Hospital. Bernie’s son was the patient’s doctor and he told the woman that his father was widowed and was having trouble with dating. Hearing of another widow the same age as Freda, the woman gave Freda’s phone number to Bernie’s son. “Bernie called me that night,” Freda says smiling. And once again, fate was sealed.

Freda and Bernie share in the great gratitude they feel for meeting one another as they both have experienced the loss of their first loves. In their years of retirement together, they’ve enjoyed traveling the world, trying new things and hosting wonderful gatherings for their many cherished friends and family.

As they look back on memories and share stories of the past, Freda and Bernie feel grateful for where they are today. Continuing to enjoy their active lifestyles in the community at Paul’s Run, they are incredibly happy in their new home.