Local Actress Takes on New Role--And Pet--
As Oakleaf Personal Care Home's Administrator
by John Fries
Just a few minutes off Brownsville Road, after winding through the
pristine residential streets of Baldwin, you reach the crest of a
gentle hill. It's a quiet spot, with freshly manicured grass and a
peaceful ambience. On the spring morning I visited, the bright sun
bathed the hilltop in warmth, and shone through the windows of a spacious,
airy building that serves as home to nearly 80 older adults.
Once inside the doors of Oakleaf Personal Care Home, I was immediately
greeted with smiles and hellos, as though I was a familiar face. It's
a friendly, cozy place, one in which staff, residents, visitors and
a playful greyhound all happily mingle as one big family. The genuine
warmth is immediately evident to first-time visitors.
"The thing I noticed when I first arrived here," said Roseann Kulevich,
who joined Oakleaf as its administrator in March. "is how wonderful
the people are, and much they truly love the residents."
Kulevich knows personal care. She came to Oakleaf after Anderson Manor,
a personal care residence formerly owned by Presbyterian Senior Care,
closed its doors earlier this year. For 19 years, she worked for PSC
as personal care home adminstrator, customer service teacher and housing
manager. A native of Powhatan Point, Ohio (just south of Wheeling)
and longtime resident of the North Side, where she lives with her
17-year-old son, Jonathan,
Kulevich is very happy in her new work environment. "When I first
came to Oakleaf and started meeting people in the community," she
said, "I'd hear wonderful things about the residence, and was extremely
impressed with its reputation." According to Kulevich, Oakleaf is
a home to its residents, rather than a medical model. "It's built
all on one level, and is extremely well-staffed and well-run."
The 82-bed residence has a staff of 46, all of whom work together
to oversee care of residents. There's also a four-legged member of
the family: a beautiful, seven-year-old, white/red greyhound named
Fanny, who's lived at Oakleaf for three years.
"Fanny used to race at Wheeling Downs in 1997 and 1998," said Cindy
Brady, assistant director of wellness. "A few years ago, we discussed
the possibility of getting a pet, and did quite a bit of investigating.
Finally, we contacted Going Home Greyhounds, a Wexford agency that
rescues greyhounds who can no longer race and puts them in foster
homes until they can be adopted."
After the agency did an extensive background check of Oakleaf, including
visiting the residence, it made Fanny available for $200, which was
easily raised in two weeks. "We posted a message asking for voluntary
donations so we could adopt a pet, and received immediate support
from doctors, nurses, staff, family members and visitors," said Brady,
whose 93-year-old grandmother, Hazel Kerfoot of Dravosburg, has been
a resident at Oakleaf for the past year.
"Fanny is great with people and other dogs," said Brady. "She knows
the residents and their visitors, whose beds she's allowed on, and
who have treats." One resident keeps a bowl filled with water in his
room. "Fanny also knows which visitors bring her treats and take her
for walks, and she gets excited when she sees them," said Brady.
Although she's been a personal care home administrator for much of
her career, Kulevich's life away from work is vastly different from
that of many of her peers. A talented actress and singer, she holds
a bachelor's degree in English from Wheeling Jesuit University, and
several years ago attended Schiller College in London, where she earned
credits toward a master's degree in theater. She's a delightful person
and dynamic musical theater performer who began acting more than 30
years ago, and has played most of the great female lead roles in stage
"My favorite is Rose in 'Gypsy'," said Kulevich, who's performed the
part in three different productions. Other favorites include Miss
Hannigan in "Annie," Golda in "Fiddler on the Roof," Mame in "Mame,"
Dolly in "Hello, Dolly," Sara in "Company" and Aunt Eller in "Oklahoma."She's
performed some of these roles multiple times. She’s also performed
extensively with Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Stage 62, CCAC, the Jewish
Community Center and McKeesport Little Theater.
In addition, she's directed a number of shows. She sings in the choir
at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the North Side, and in
the church's vocal group Vision, which has been featured on WPCB Channel
40 and as part of WPXI-TV's annual holiday Carol Sing.
She said that the career and hobby do intertwine. "When I worked at
Presbyterian Senior Care, the residents took Access vans to the theater
to see me perform."
Kulevich is sure she'll give a performance for the Oakleaf residents.
Also, that she'll return to musical theater in the summer or fall.
Right now, though, she's getting to know the staff, residents and
families at the Oakleaf Personal Care Home, which, she said, "is a
great way to spend the day."