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Irvine Profiles - The Russell and Peggy Frank Family
The Russell and Peggy Frank Family

Russell and Peggy Frank moved with their three young children to Irvine’s University Park in March 1967, more than four years before the City incorporated. And they never left. That first house included a landscape allowance of $1,500 and, for free, included the sweet smell of orange blossoms from nearby fields. The couple moved to Turtle Rock Glen in 1977 to be close to University High School, attended by children Douglas, now 51, Paul, 49, and Carolyn, 46. Russell Frank made the commute to Los Angeles County for his working career and Peggy Frank worked at the Irvine Company. Their daughter moved back to Irvine with her family six years ago and Carolyn’s two teen children now attend local public schools. Russell and Peggy answered the following questions.

Q: What are your earlier memories of Irvine?
A: We came down from Palo Alto not knowing anything about Southern California, but being thoroughly briefed that there was nothing much good south of San Jose. We came loaded with a negative perspective and when we got here, nothing could be further from the truth. There was no 405 Freeway, but there was a cattle roundup going on at the intersection of what is now Culver and the 405. When we turned off the 5 Freeway, it was solid orange trees, and the scent of the orange blossoms was absolutely heady.

Q: Would you live anywhere else?
A: We wouldn’t. The mountains are close, the City is safe, the schools are safe. What more would you want?

Q: What was it like to raise children in Irvine?
A: Our boys were young and they would take their bicycles and go to the corner and play all day and catch snakes. Nobody worried about the kids; they were out playing. They just had a wonderful time. At the end of our block was the first association pool, a couple of tennis courts, and University Park was probably 200 homes at the time. We thought we were in heaven. The prices were a little high, $27,000 for a house.

Q: What brought your daughter, Carolyn, back to Irvine?
A: Irvine. Her husband had an opportunity to come back to work, and Carolyn said, we’re going. And it’s worked out for them.

Q: What does the 40th Anniversary mean to you?
A: It means that the plan that the Irvine Company envisioned worked.

Q: Final thoughts.
A: I have never heard of, or been involved in any municipal government in which every time I contact the City, I have received immediate responses from the most intelligent and cooperative people you can possibly imagine. The professionalism is without a peer.