Profiles LPC/HCOG: Frankie France

Frankie France was one of the “HCOG Volunteer Hall of Fame” members, at least in my book.  Sister France was a member of Homestead Church of God (now Life Pointe) before my dad moved to Homestead to become the pastor in the summer of 1986.  She was about 5 feet tall, and she had gray hair, and she was… hmm, how do you say… spunky!  Our first week in Homestead here at the church, Frankie told my dad that she was going to run him off.  She declared that she was the meanest!  Just five minutes or so hanging out with her and you knew that was not true!

She had a fiercely independent “can-do” style about her that is pretty much non-existent these days.  That was probably because she grew up Kentucky in without electricity, without running water in her house, and she had to ride for miles on a horse every day just to get to school.    My dad called her “The Kentucky Wonder”.  Before retiring, she managed a restaurant, so she knew lots of tricks about consolidating several small amounts of condiments into one bottle, and how to make candy, and how to fix large quantities of food for church dinners.  She always had an angle at how to do stuff.  As she was getting up in years, she was determined to be at church and to get around on her own in her car as long as she physically could.

As far as her volunteer work, as a classroom monitor she spent every school day at Pathway Christian School, which was a ministry of our church, helping the little ones learn to read and keeping the rowdy teenage boys (who were of course unlike me) in line.  Every day she would collect coupons from boxes, newspapers, mail-outs, and store papers to cut them out and and redeem them for a fraction of a penny each to the company of origin to donate some money to the Florida Boy’s Ranch.  She was always first in line to donate some canned goods for food drives even though she was on a very meager fixed income.  Anytime the church had an activity that required workers, she was there to clean up, or cook, or do her part and more to help with the work day.

One of the most endearing characteristics she had was her spunky attitude and sense of humor.  I remember one time I was leaning back in my chair at school talking to one of my neighbors when Sister France came up behind me and popped me on the head with a booklet.  She laughed and told me to get back to work.  But Sister France always had my back.  For years after we joked about her popping me in the head with the booklet, even when she was in a retirement home.  She never did really give me a hard time, although she would joke a lot about giving me a tough time.  Travis and I adopted her as our Homestead granny and she adopted us back.  I guarantee you this; if anyone messed with my dad, they would have to go through Frankie France before they got to him.  She was loyal as loyal could be.  And she always had a good joke or a story.

Due to a condition that caused her vision to deteriorate, Sister France eventually had to give up driving at night, then altogether.  Soon, she was no longer able to read her bible.  After a few years, she was totally blind and unable to take care of herself.  I regret to this day that I didn’t visit her more than I did, because every single time I went to see her in her little room at her retirement home, she would get me to laugh and joke, and we would have such a good time.  And I loved to go see her.

For years, she was an integral part of the church, tithing faithfully though she was on a very limited fixed income, and providing ladies’ meetings with some of the best jokes and nuggets of wisdom.  She exemplified the attitude that we should all have, loyal to God, her church, her pastor, and her friends, and loving God and man with reckless abandon.  About four years ago, Frankie France went on to meet Jesus.  I want everyone to remember this awesome woman who meant so much to my church, my family, and me.  I challenge each of you who read this and myself to carry on the legacy of Frankie France with faithful giving, volunteering, loyalty, dedication, and cheerfulness.  One day, I will see her in Heaven.

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5 Comments

Filed under church, Homestead, life pointe, school

5 responses to “Profiles LPC/HCOG: Frankie France

  1. Frankie France was a good horse rider as a child, just as you have alluded to, Phil. Going home from school, she said, her “pap”(father) Beardon warned her to make sure she was ready to ride when she swung up on the horse’s back, cause that horse would take off immediately when it felt her weight. She rode bareback, too. It was a fast horse. Kids today dream of Ford Mustangs, but she had a real mustang. When she rode by people would say there goes one those Beardon girls riding that fast Beardon horse.

    When Hurricane Andrew hit, it totally demolished her home. She picked up all that was left of her belongings in a single black plastic bag. We were glad to help her with food, clothing, cash and whatever else we had. I purposed that if anyone was going to get diasaster relief from the HCOG it was going to be her.

    She got back on her feet, found a new place to live and never missed a service as long as she could drive. When she couldn’t drive her HCOG church family including Arlene Rance and Annie Gibson, Phillip and Travis brought her to church.

  2. Anne J

    Nothing held her back, and especially not her age. If the teens went on a trip, she was right there to chapperone. I’d say if she’d been around when we had to set up and tear down at the theater, and she was in the least capable of helping, she would have! I miss her much!

    aj

  3. Ela

    These are the kind of person’s that make me want to do the best that I can for MY church. They inspire me to keep on going even when I get to the point that I can’t.

  4. Anne (mother),
    I forgot about Sister France always going on youth/teen functions as a chaperon. She was like a kid at heart!

    Ole atom splitter,
    She had a way of working with kids that others couldn’t seem to reach or deal with. Joey had ADHD and was medicated, but he was almost uncontrollable everywhere he went to school and even at home. But Sis France made him a special project, helped him learn to read, and had the patience and the ability to connect with him. He was a different person after his encounter with her!

    Ela,
    You are an inspiration! You are such an important part of Life Pointe. I hope you know that.

  5. Pingback: Profiles LPC/HCOG: The Recap « The Citizen Cane

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