Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Monticello, Fla.
She was born June 15, 1924, in Lakeland, Fla., to Ola Maye St. John Simmons and Durrell Orville Simmons, both of whom preceded her in death.
She is survived by: her daughters, Dianne Louise Wilber (Melvin) and Mary Lynne Ball; her grandchildren, Matthew Ross Barker and Andrew Brian Barker (Jessica); her great-grandchildren, Ethan, Ross and Seth Barker; a brother, John Albert Simmons; and a sister, Patricia Ann Simmons Thornton.
Fran graduated from the Pensacola Hospital School of Nursing in 1947 and was a practicing registered nurse for many years, working primarily at Miami Baptist Hospital and Pensacola Scared Heart Hospital. After moving to Clayton in 1983, she worked some years for Hospice before permanently retiring from nursing.
For many years Fran was an Air Force wife and moved often, living in various cities in Texas, Ohio and Florida as well as in Baguio, Philippines. Wherever Fran lived she was always actively involved in the volunteer community and belonged to such groups as the Air Force Officer’s Wives’ Club and several garden and women’s clubs in Florida and Georgia. She played a key role in the establishment of the group The Pensacola Artists Inc. at Quayside Gallery and was bestowed a life membership for her tireless efforts.
Fran had many abilities and talents. She had a flair for interior decorating, art collecting, fashion and gardening and was a fabulous cook and hostess. She was an excellent homemaker, mother, friend and nurse and always provided the most conscientious and loving care to her family, friends, patients and the many, many dogs and cats she rescued and cherished throughout the years.
In October 2010, due to illness Fran had to leave her beloved mountain home in Georgia where she had lived for 27 years, longer than she had lived anywhere, to reside with her daughter, Dianne, in Monticello. Her daughters, whom she often said were her heart, will always love her and respect the example she set as an independent and accomplished woman who came from very humble beginnings to live a remarkable, active and good life as truly part of the “greatest generation.” No services are planned, but as she requested, her ashes will be returned at a later date to her much loved Georgia mountains.
Beggs Funeral Home, Monticello Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
The Clayton Tribune, April 5, 2012