Frank’s Angel Statues: a Story by Wine Educator Pam

Dad passed away suddenly in November 2000 and then Mom became terminally ill. I took family leave from the corporate world to take care of my sweet mother. After she died, I changed careers and moved to the fertile soils of Napa Valley, California, one of the world’s premier viticultural regions. Napa Valley is known for its prized award-winning wines, lavish resorts, charming B&B’s and restaurants with top-rated chefs. I started working for a historical winery. Of course, I enjoyed wine but wasn’t that knowledgeable about viticulture. The Tasting Room Manager was a wine educator who said he would teach me everything I needed to know. Thanks to Barry, I started my career in the wine industry.

In January 2009, I met my boyfriend, Frank. I had lived in Napa Valley for six months. He had been divorced for several years, was a wonderful dad of two amazing grown daughters, had a loving sister, and several nieces and nephews. Frank was a hard-working family man who loved to golf, always smiled, made me laugh and could grill the best steaks you would ever taste. We spent a lot of time together enjoying this beautiful Valley. 

After leaving the corporate world, moving across the United States and changing careers, I was struggling a little financially and would occasionally dip into my savings. Frank kept encouraging me to look for another job, but the winery I worked for had been so good to me. I told him if something dropped in my lap, I would check it out; but I wasn’t quite ready to start looking. He would continually say, “I know there’s a great opportunity out there for you, just go for it”. 

On my day off work, I was visiting a friend in San Francisco. I told Frank that I would call him the next morning before he left for work. I dialed his number and a woman answered his cell phone. At first, I thought I dialed the wrong number. I was shocked to hear a woman’s voice. I asked to speak to Frank. She said, “May I ask who is calling?” When I told her my name, she responded, “I’ve heard a lot about you. And I’m so sorry, … but Frank passed away yesterday”. His company vehicle was towed to work after his accident. It was the secretary at his office who answered his cell phone. I screamed and my friend, Debbie, came running from the other room. As tears streamed down my cheeks all I remember saying was, “Frank is dead, Frank is dead”. 

Frank’s family had a beautiful “Celebration of his life”. I met all of his loving family and friends. A few days after, I had returned to work, I received a phone call from Pat, a man who had poured wine for me and my friend when I first moved to Napa Valley. He asked how long I had worked in the wine industry. I told him, “one year”. Pat said, “I have a job opening in the tasting room and I thought of you. Would you like to come interview for the job?” 

When I first moved to Napa Valley, I spent a lot of my spare time visiting wineries and taking photos of the vineyards. I had taken a picture of two angel statutes at this winery. Frank loved that photo. I knew this winery was where I was supposed to be. It was a wonderful opportunity and almost eleven years later, it still ceases to amaze me. You see, a few days after Frank died, I received a call from FRANK FAMILY VINEYARDS. What are the odds? I see those angel statues every day I’m at the winery. I can still see Frank smiling. He will always be with me, and I know that he definitely had something to do with me being part of FRANK FAMILY (where “Great Wine Happens Every Day”).

Pam has worked in the Frank Family tasting room for more than a decade. She is an extremely knowledgeable wine enthusiast, experienced wine educator, as well as a published author. We hope you enjoyed her latest story that was submitted to a new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels All Around