I first met the Orphan Family in 1966 through the Masonic Youth organizations, where Lugene’s younger sister Madge and I became best friends. The Orphan home became my second home, I was included in everything, even vacations. They were a stable haven for me all through high school. Eventually, I became a “real member” of the Orphan family when Lugene’s brother Bill and I married in 1980. Lugene is the family cheerleader, she is so proud of every achievement and milestone in her family and will not hesitate to let the world know. But more than that she has been a family caregiver. When her grandmother was no longer able to live alone, Lugene moved in with her to assist her with daily tasks around the house. Eventually, she moved back in with her parents and filled the same need for them. It wasn’t till after both of her parents passed that I was able to give back to Lugene in some of the same ways that she has given to others. Her parents Lew and Jean did a great job of helping Lugene gain many skills for independence, but she still needed assistance in some areas. With her siblings unable to help her, Lugene and I have both learned what she needs and where I fit in for that. We are finding that as time goes on she is needing more assistance to remain independent in her parents’ home. With my retirement from the Special Education Department at Las Virgenes School District to care for my grandson and moving over an hour away I’m so thankful that Lugene is comfortable with the help, Avenues is able to provide for her. At 78 years young Lugene is living a healthy, happy life along with her dog Chelsea.
We are proud to honor Vicki Orphan, Sister-in-Law to Lugene Orphan. As Vicki shares below, she got to know Lugene and the Orphan family when she became friends with sister Madge in the mid-1960s. While Lugene’s other family members have passed away or live distantly, Vicki was always close by to help in a pinch and assisted Lugene tremendously with the responsibility of managing not only her budget & finances but the regular repairs & maintenance needed for the home and property where she grew up and still resides. Here is Vicki’s story of how she met Lugene and her family: