A Legacy in Action

"You can pretend to care, but you can't pretend to show up."

The Mandalari sisters, Julie, Jean, Joyce and Jackie, grew up in the loving, spirited home of Stephen and Rosemarie Mandalari.

Family and faith were at the center of everything in their family. When the four sisters remember their parents, they see them dancing at Italian weddings, cheering at their grandchildren’s games and playing with the grandchildren at parties. Over the years, these sisters, their husbands and their children created many cherished memories with Stephen and Rosemarie. They believe these moments are what make life so special.

As Stephen and Rosemarie got older, they grew weaker. Rosemarie’s health was compromised by complications from diabetes and a stroke; Stephen began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The girls learned about both parents’ conditions and helped medically in every way possible. As time went on, it became increasingly more difficult for the daughters to spend time with Stephen and Rosemarie as parents rather than patients.

Julie Spalding, the eldest of the sisters, worked next to Coleman Adult Day in Ravenna and convinced her sisters to consider it. They quickly realized how much Coleman could do on top of meeting their parents’ medical needs. At first, Stephen went to Adult Day three times a week. On those days, he got one-on-one attention and personal care. He had lunch and entertainment and was able to socialize. While Stephen was at the center, the girls had one-on-one time with Rosemarie. When he came home, he was happy and relaxed. This change alone lifted everyone’s spirits a great deal.

“Our lives were turned upside down when our mom and dad’s health declined and were transformed when we got involved with Coleman Adult Day. We found real strength in our vulnerability at Coleman Adult Day. We have found it is important to lean on each other and those who love us. Coleman Adult Day had become family who love us.” – Jean (Mandalari) Geopfert

2014 was a grueling year. Both Stephen and Rosemarie passed away within 23 days of each other. Like most love stories, theirs is a beautiful one.

Stephen and Rosemarie believed it was their responsibility to give back and help others, and they expected the same commitment from their daughters. This idea carried on to the seven grandchildren who formed a group called Kids 4 Coleman to raise money and awareness for Coleman Adult Day. Today, Kids 4 Coleman has raised more than $70,000 and provided countless hours of awareness and volunteering.

A cherished family quote is: “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.”

Thank you to the sisters, the grandkids – Lauren and Jim, AJ, Haley and Bella Rose, Stephen, Frank, Maria, Rachel, Regina and countless others. You are truly a legacy in action and now creating one of your own. To all of you, thank you for caring and showing up.