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Kate Gray, Director
Kate Gray was born and raised in Texas, where she lived until 1998 when she moved to Washington State. Ms. Gray has worked in non-profits most of her life. After holding the position of Executive Director of Assisted Living Communities, she joined Franke Tobey Jones as the Senior Center Director in 2010,
Ms. Gray graduated from Evergreen State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and business. Through an internship, Kate was employed by Assured Home Health and Hospice where she was the Bereavement Counselor and Program Development Director. During her tenure in this position, she was awarded the National Hospice Award for Outstanding Program Development. Later she was appointed to the National Hospice Standards Committee. Eventually, Ms. Gray took an Executive Director position at Evergreen Court in Bellevue, WA. She was hired by Emeritus and eventually managed both Evergreen Lodge and Kirkland Lodge, both are assisted living communities.
Ms. Gray loves Franke Tobey Jones and its mission, and enjoys working with the seniors at Pt. Defiance~Ruston Senior Center. When asked why she does what she does, she stated “It’s in honor of my parents. I took care of them in their latter years and I just love working with seniors. I learn so much from them!” While working at the Senior Center, Ms. Gray went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Health Preparedness and Biosecurity for Agriculture. She states that “while those subjects may seem unrelated to my current position, I have often utilized my Public Health Preparedness training at the Senior Center.”
Kate was married for almost 18 years. Her pride and joy is her daughter, Kristen, who lives in Seattle. Kate’s second joy is her recently acquired baby, Hershey, a Miniature Australian Labradoodle. Hershey has quickly become the well known ambassador of the Senior Center, greeting everyone with a friendly wagging tail. When Hershey is not in the building, everyone wants to know her whereabouts. When Ms. Gray is not working, she enjoys reading, playing with Hershey and reveling in the beauty of Washington State.
Kate invites you to check out the Point Defiance~Ruston Senior Center and join any of the many activities offered every week. (The calendar is located on the “Newsletter and Calendar” page.
Wendy Wells, Site Supervisor
Wendy has been a Tacoma resident since 2014 when she and her husband, Jeff, purchased a historic home in the North End, which they have been painstakingly restoring. Wendy and Jeff have a large, blended family of 6 children and 3 cats. She is an ordained minister, enjoys spending time in her garden and loves to run. She has completed several half marathons and aspires to one day complete a full marathon.
Although her education was in Aerospace and Flight Technology, she spent most of her career in the retail sector. After managing stores of various types, she found her niche supervising new store sets. In this role she helped open many stores across the country, ranging from small fashion boutiques to large, big box stores like Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby. In the summer of 2022 Wendy got the opportunity to help her husband, Jeff, open his own small business here in Tacoma. Shortly after completing her last project, Wendy received a call from a recruiter, with whom she had previously worked, and was offered an opportunity to serve as the interim director of the Lighthouse Activity Center. Leaving the retail sector to become involved with a community-oriented organization was a dream come true and Wendy did not hesitate to accept the position. After serving a few months as the interim, she was then hired by Franke Tobey Jones and made the permanent Site Supervisor. She is excited to be part of this transition and bringing the Lighthouse to life with lots of new programs and activities for the seniors to enjoy.
Wendy is optimistic that this next phase of her personal and professional evolution will bring joy, not only to herself, but to those she has the opportunity to serve as well.
Diana Sharon, Site Coordinator
Diana Sharon was born and raised in Connecticut and moved to the Northwest in 1993. With her degree in Art History, she worked as an art consultant for decades curating art for national and international hotels and senior living communities, before transitioning into working with seniors. “My mother was involved with many community organizations including helping seniors and I knew at some point I’d like to do the same,” she said. Diana had the pleasure of working at Franke Tobey Jones Retirement Community for over 2 years and loved leading programs for the residents there and building relationships with the residents and staff.
She enjoys spending time birding and biking with her husband, and they also often foster dogs or cats in their home. In the summer she can be found in the garden most days and spends a lot of time baking and creating art. Diana has done volunteer work for The Humane Society, Cielo in Olympia and Pier Washington.
“I’m very excited to serve the community at the Senior Center in my neighborhood.”