Finding Home


Francie Nolan

My friend Francie Nolan took the proverbial lemon (i.e., COVID-19) and turned it into lemonade.  During the lockdown, Francie wrote a memoir.  It’s not often that you get a deep, personal look into the life of someone you admire.  It’s a privilege that’s even more special when you realize that only a select few have been granted this opportunity.  The book is not available for sale so I was honored when Francie allowed me to read it.  You may be wondering why I am sharing my thoughts about a book that you cannot read.  I’m sharing the inspiration that Francie is and hope that by my sharing a brief snippet of her story, you will be inspired as well.

To set the context, Francie is one of the most optimistic and outgoing people you will ever meet.  (Lemonade anyone?).  Her smile brightens your day.  The word “no” doesn’t phase her.  She’s not a pushover and if you cross that line, she’ll have a word or two to say that will quickly put you in your place. 

Francie is an educator who worked with gifted and talented children, their parents and teachers for over 35 years.  She introduced chess into 92 schools in and around the City of Columbus, Ohio giving the most vulnerable kids an opportunity to succeed not only at chess but also at life.  Francie has been a lifetime WW member for over 40 years and a coach for most of that time.  I met Francie through her WW workshop where she encouraged and inspired me through my weight loss journey.

I won’t go into too much detail but suffice it to say that Francie encountered a lot of challenges in her life.  She grew up in a West Virginia “Holler” in poverty.  She married young and then managed through the diagnosis and then death of her young husband who passed away from MS.  Francie shares her hopes and dreams, her challenges and strife with us.  Through it all, we see the Francie that we know and love -- strong, capable, determined and resilient.  She finally got the education she desired and she touched many lives as a mother, wife, friend and teacher and through the extra-curricular programs she created.  Francie, you are an inspiration to all who have been privileged to know you.