Nancy Lee Spilove
They call her “The Fantastic Lady.” That’s because whenever anyone at The Clare asks her how she feels, she always says, “Fantastic!” Spend a minute with Nancy and you’ll understand why. Her effervescent personality and positive attitude are utterly contagious. “How can you not feel fantastic living at The Clare,” Spilove said. “I’m happy as a clam.”
Before moving to The Clare, Nancy resided in Florida. After raising three children she decided she wanted to help those in life less fortunate than herself. At the age of fifty-one she enrolled in a community college that offered culinary arts classes. Spilove was the first woman in the Broward County, Florida chapter of the American Culinary Federation to become an Executive Certified Chef.
Spilove taught a few years but felt the need to fulfill a higher calling. She wanted to use her skills to create a meal center for the disadvantaged and homeless. Her dream became a reality and for years Nancy prepared meals daily for over 450 people. When the center closed, she decided to take a break. “I was 62 and getting tired of lifting 100-pound bags of potatoes!” Her break didn’t last long. Six months later when visiting a recycling center that employed the mentally and physically challenged, she asked the employer if the employees were served lunch. “No,” said the employer, “but we do have a pretty nice kitchen out back.” She started cooking again. Then, at age 65, she decided she wanted to be footloose and fancy free.
Shortly thereafter Spilove became a widow. Her daughter suggested she come visit her in Chicago to look at condos and retirement communities so they could be closer to each other. Nancy looked at a few places, flew back to Florida and soon returned to Chicago. She called The Clare who arranged a get-together with residents of The Clare. “They were lovely people; so warm and welcoming.” It was then and there that Nancy decided The Clare was where she wanted to be. “I’m so glad I made that decision. So is my daughter, who doesn’t have to worry about me anymore. It’s not healthy to be alone. You have to socialize, stay active and have fun in life.”
“When people I know tell me they’re not ready for The Clare I fire back, ‘Not ready? For what? Not ready to give up cleaning, home maintenance and all the other responsibilities that prevent you from getting the most out of life? Not ready to have an incredible staff at your beck and call – a staff that would jump through hoops to please you? Not ready to eat incredible food prepared by a chef who’s a miracle worker? Not ready to be surrounded by terrific people who are bright and outgoing? No, I don’t buy that “not ready” story.’”
“Come visit The Clare before you say you’re not ready. Come see my gorgeous apartment with fantastic views, join in any of The Clare’s events and activities, eat the fantastic food, meet the people who live here. Believe me. Once you’ve visited you’ll know you’re ready.”