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Friday, February 24, 2023

Tricia's Eulogy for Francine

 Good afternoon. I’m Tricia Rosencranz, Frances’s youngest child. On behalf of my siblings,

Susan and Stephen, I thank you for being here today.

It’s an interesting process to speak briefly about someone who lived for almost 99 years. Do I

pick little personal stories—or does that make it too much about me and not enough about

moma? Do I just give a summary of her life’s journey? That seems too formal.

The more I thought about what to say, the more one descriptor came to mind. I had never seen

her this way, particularly, but now I am struck by how brave my mother was.

Think of the incredible bravery—the sheer guts it took—for her to go off and marry my father.

She was 18 and had never been more than 30 miles from home. She met Claude briefly (a

matter of weeks) and she got on a train alone and traveled for 3 days and 3 nights to go to

Oregon to marry him. She always said that the World War II years were the best time of her

life. She wanted a new adventurous life and she went and got it.

We had a rather traditional upbringing. Daddy worked and moma was in charge of the family.

We moved as Daddy climbed the corporate ladder. From Houston, to New York, to Nashville,

to Battle Creek, Michigan. Mother had no input in our moves. Each time she bravely faced

packing and leaving friends. In the new cities she had to get the kids settled in schools, find a

church, get involved in the community, make new friends. That’s a lot harder to do than it

sounds. She always had a stoic attitude and was absolutely pragmatic about it—and that’s


Of course, when Daddy died suddenly she was extremely courageous. Her life as she knew it

was over. Her children had all grown up and she was alone. Without self-pity or complaint, she

took herself to her Florida house and walked on the beach for a few months while she figured

out a new life plan. Then she picked up, moved to Knoxville and began her second life—which

lasted 45 years.

As you know, mother lived alone, without help, until this past September. Her vision and

hearing were poor and she could no longer drive. She did not complain. When I would ask her

if she wanted me to get helpers in to take care of the laundry or do the cooking, she always said

“I’m not there yet.” Or “ If they did that, then what would I have to do all day?” Every time I

would come to visit, something in the house would be re-arranged, it might just be a few

objects on a shelf or it might be the entire room was re-arranged. She didn’t give up on

life—she kept working to make her home fresh and beautiful. That’s real courage.

And, this fall when she was frail and had to move to assisted living, she went without complaint.

It wasn’t her first choice, but she accepted it and worked to make her new apartment her

home. Always stoic, always striving to stay active, always pragmatic, always optimistic —that’s


I am so appreciative of her strong will and positive attitude. You know she planted a dogwood

tree by herself at age 98. She said she got tired of waiting for someone to come dig the hole so

she did it herself. She said she put it by the window so she could watch it grow.

She was remarkable.