Wable’s life filled with adventures

VIENNA – Frances Wable has lived life to the fullest.

She has traveled extensively across the United States, visiting every state except Hawaii.

Around 1948, she and her late husband, Paul, cut the trees to build their log house in Ritzville, Wash.

Frances accompanied Paul in his job as a cross-country truck driver.

On Oct. 5, family and friends celebrated Wable’s 95th birthday with a party in the community room at Pleasantview Towers in Vienna.

Wable moved into Pleasantview Towers at 1205 Ninth St. when the facility opened in March 1980. She is the oldest resident of the apartment high-rise.

Wable’s actual birthday is Nov. 25, but Oct. 5 was the best day to get everyone together for a celebration. Among the visitors was Wable’s brother Joe Fry, 91, of Brownsburg, Ind.

Wable enjoyed the big band music played by Jack Dickson and friends Buddy Lee, Dale Holshu, Paul McCutcheon and Bill Warfield at the birthday party.

“It was a nice, wonderful party,” Wable said. “I was queen for a day,” she added with a big smile.

Wable was born in Charleston and her family moved to Parkersburg in 1929 when she was 11 years old.

Her father, Cleveland “Teedie” Fry, was a printer at The Parkersburg News. Joe Fry also worked at the Parkersburg newspaper for a while.

Wable lost a leg to an infection at the age of 8.

It didn’t stop her from enjoying life.

Wable, who was Frances Fry at the time, was working as a proofreader at The Parkersburg News in 1945 when the Internal Revenue Service “recruited” her for a job in the Parkersburg office.

Herman E. Gieske, editor of the News, wrote a letter to the IRS director, saying the newspaper would miss Frances but the federal government was getting an outstanding person and employee.

“… We sincerely regret having her leave us and it is only the fact that the higher duty of patriotism called that we consent to letting her go,” according to Gieske’s letter.

Steve Wheatley and his family were Wable’s next-door neighbors and friends on 23rd Street in Vienna before she moved to Pleasantview Towers.

“She is a kind, nice lady,” Wheatley said. “She was grandma for our kids.”

Wable baked birthday cakes for the Wheatley children and gave out “bucket loads” of her pecan soft caramel candy at Christmas, he said.

She enjoyed crocheting blankets and doll clothes and putting together artificial flower arrangements, all of which she gave away, Wheatley said. Wheatley regularly visits Wable at Pleasantview Towers.

Wable loved to travel – something she did regularly until about seven years ago. She moved from her house on 23rd Street to Pleasantview Towers, “so she could just close the door and go.”

She was a fan of traveling on a Greyhound bus. She sent the bus drivers Christmas cards, Wheatley said.

The bus ride to places like Las Vegas, Reno, Nev., and Washington state allowed Wable to see the country. And she was in no hurry to get there anyway, Wable told Wheatley.

“When I get old, I can sit back and say I’ve been there,” Wable said about her early love of traveling. “I remember where I’ve been. I have good memories.”

Her favorite entertainer in Las Vegas was Liberace. “He was the best showman,” she said.

Wable played the slot machines and bingo in Vegas and Reno. She still plays bingo on Tuesdays at Pleasantview Towers.

Good friend Cora Taylor was grieving over the death of her husband when Wable took her on a Greyhound bus trip to Las Vegas, Reno and Paradise, Calif.

“We had a ball,” Taylor, 89, said.

Wable won $800 at a slot machine in Las Vegas, Taylor recalls.

“She gave the workers $5 and gave me $100 … and told me now play,” Taylor says laughing.

“She (Wable) taught me you get out of life what you put into it,” Taylor said.

Wable’s eyes light up when someone mentions a trip she took on the Delta Queen from New Orleans to Cincinnati.

“It was the most wonderful week. They never quit feeding us,” she said.

Wable loves chocolate cookies. She noted that her doctor said she could eat as many chocolate cookies as she wants.

“I feel great …. wonderful,” Wable said. “I’ve had a good life.”