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Rich and Fran Juro are always ready to hear and tell a good travel story. The way Rich describes events and people makes you wish you were there with them. He's a master storyteller.
That may be one of the reasons they love to travel. No matter how far from Omaha they roam, they are sure to meet interesting people and come back with tales to share.
One such story ended up making a lot of lemurs very comfortable back here in Omaha. Rich tells of the time he and Fran spent on a small expedition ship sailing through the Indian Ocean. They stopped in Madagascar for a few days and met Dr. Eleanor Sterling, a naturalist affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University.
Columbia is where Rich went to law school so there was already a connection, but what he and Fran thoroughly enjoyed was listening to Dr. Sterling regale them with her stories of spending a year alone on a remote island sanctuary for lemurs.
While on this island she studied the Aye-Aye Lemur, a nocturnal animal found only in Madagascar. Her research there has made her a world authority on the Aye-Aye.
"She told some interesting stories of tracking them in the night with a flashlight in the jungle ravines," Juro said.
So a few years after the trip, when the Juros found out that Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo was creating the Expedition Madagascar exhibit, they wanted to be part of it, in Dr. Sterling's honor.
Though they have been long-time zoo members, this is the first significant involvement they've had with the zoo. Being part of Expedition Madagascar and the Aye-Aye Lemur exhbit in particular seemed a perfect way to share their passion of a good travel story with Omaha. And the zoo didn't disappoint.
"The more you learn about it the more you're impressed," Juro said. "We knew the Madagascar exhibit would be good, but it's just amazing what they've accomplished there."
While its true the Juros relish journeying to exotic locations, they both enjoy the benefits of calling Omaha home. Fran is an Omaha native and Rich grew up in Brooklyn. Like most stories of Omaha transplants, he made his way here for a temporary time and ended up staying, falling in love, and raising a family.
Rich and Fran have three children, a son who lives in New Orleans and two daughters, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren in Omaha.
Rich ran the family business, No Frills Grocery, for years, but he sold the company to his senior management team two years ago and is mostly retired. This leaves more time for him and Fran to explore the world and bring their travel stories back home.
Rich and Fran Juro Bring Their Travel Story to Life