Sweet, smart, spiritual, silly and clever, stubborn and unwavering in her commitments to her faith, to her Paul, and to all her family and to her friends…that was Frances Smith.
Frances Lynette (Smith) Smith, daughter of Nellie Edna (Smith) Smith and Ezra William Smith, was born June 18, 1921 on the family farm in Holt County, Missouri. Frances’ father, Ezra Smith, passed away as the result of an accident with a team of horses when Frances was six. The early loss of her father did a lot to shape Frances into a kind, quietly determined woman who was driven to be able to support herself and to have a loving family. Frances’ mother, Nellie, remarried in 1936 to George Allabac who was a good provider, but having a quietly, determined daughter was not always easy for George or for Nellie.
In 4-H Frances did well and earned enough money through awards to pay for her first year of college. With Nellie’s support and George’s loud objections, Frances packed her suitcase and went to Northwest Missouri State Teachers’ College in Maryville, MO. During that first year, Frances attended a church youth group picnic and met a young man from Iowa, Paul Jennings Smith. George and Nellie both liked Paul because they believed he was kind and motivated to succeed. George adjusted to changing times and the idea of having a daughter in college. The friendship between Paul and Frances deepened into love that was sustained through letters when World War II interrupted their college years. Paul served in the United States Navy, and Frances began teaching in Rock Port, Mo after having graduated from college with a double major in English and business. Frances saved the special letters she received from Paul. Her daughter Marcia recalls reading them.
Frances and Paul Smith were married on December 20, 1944 when Paul was home on leave. They packed their lives in one suitcase and Paul’s seabag. While Paul served in the Navy, Frances was able to follow from port city to port city and worked in offices in Seattle, San Diego, and San Francisco. In Chicago where Paul worked at the Naval Recruiting Station, Frances was employed at the Bell Telephone Company as a member of the general secretarial pool. Her excellent understanding of English grammar and word usage, writing, typing and shorthand were noticed by the President of the Bell Telephone Company. Subsequently, Frances was promoted to the position of chief executive secretary to the president of the company. Her work was so valued by her employer, he offered Paul an executive position with the company to begin at the conclusion of the war. However, neither Frances nor Paul wanted to permanently live in Chicago and raise children there so they moved to Lafayette, LA to allow Paul to complete an agriculture degree which was funded by the GI Bill. Soon after graduation, they returned to Blockton and purchased a farm with the savings from Paul’s naval salary and Frances’ savings from her office positions. The 40 acres were near Paul’s parents. Every window in the house on the property was broken and there was no running water. With the help of neighbors, Uncle Frank Fink and Louis Clayton, a water line was dug to the house, and Frances began growing a large garden, raising chickens in a brooder house, caring for a milk cow, and turning the house into their home.
Actively involved in her community, Frances was a member of the Blockton Christian Church, Christian Women’s Fellowship, Friends of Family who provide funeral meals, and the Good Neighbor Club. Frances was also charter member of The Pinochle Club whose members still play cards on a regular basis. A member of Eastern Star, PEO, serving on the Township Election Board, and substitute teaching, rounded out Frances’ life.
Frances and Paul were blessed with 70 years of marriage in 2014. Their deep love and respect for each other serves as an example.
Frances was preceded in death by her husband Paul in 2015, their daughter Paula Lynette, her parents Ezra and Nellie Smith (Allabac) and stepfather George Allabac. Also preceding Frances in death were sister-in-law Gayle Hilt and her husband Edward, sister-in-law Maxine Kean and her husband Daniel J. Kean. Frances passed away at age 97 at Mount Ayr Health Care in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Surviving this quietly, determined woman are her children Marcia Lynette (Smith) Allen and husband Gary of Corning, IA; Kenneth and his wife Linda of Maryville, Mo; six grandchildren and their spouses and special friends, and seven great-grandchildren.
Frances is in heaven, listening to the angels sing, hugging Paul and Paula, and enjoying the company of beloved family and friends. Frances is greatly loved, and she will be greatly missed.
Memorials may directed to the Blockton Christian Church, Blockton Community Hall or Mount Ayr Health Care Center.