Frances Waldron Woody Whitson, 92, of Marion, North Carolina passed away on the evening of Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Autumn Care of Marion.
Frances Pearl Waldron was born October 14, 1928 to Harry Lee Waldron and Eunice Knight Waldron in Birmingham, Alabama. She was their first child and only daughter. She was named after her two grandmothers, Frances Feroni Anbreas Knight, an Italian immigrant and Alice Pearl Waldron. She had two brothers Harry Lee Waldron, Jr., called "Buck" and William Boyd Waldron and an adopted sister Terri Lee Waldron. In 1942 she moved with her family to Newport News, Virginia for her father to work in the shipyards during World War II. While there, she met Harold Woody who was living with his sister Virginia and brother-in-law Lewis Metcalf while he worked in the shipyard too. After the war ended Harold followed Frances back to Birmingham, Alabama and they were married on September 25, 1945. Harold worked for Lee Waldron in his Heating and Air Conditioning Business for a year and then moved to North Carolina and lived with Harold's parents in a one room building with no running water or bathroom until they bought land on Peachtree Street in Marion and cleared the land and Harold built a four-room house from the trees on the land. Over the years the house was enlarged and became a home for Harold and Frances and their family.
Their first child Carole Frances was born in 1949 and their second child Ruth Gwen was born in 1953. Harold worked at Old Fort Finishing Plant and was also an automotive mechanic first in a shop on Hwy 70 West with Ruggles Duncan and later in a shop he built beside the house on Peachtree Street. Frances helped him with his business by picking up parts from Marion Auto Parts and keeping his books. They made a great team especially when she learned to drive a car with the help of neighbor Virgie Poteat and surprised Harold when she got her driver’s license. Harold, Frances and the girls attended Greenlee Baptist Church; Frances was the custodian for many years with the help of Harold and the girls. Frances taught the Beginners Sunday School class for many years, sang in the choir and always helped with Bible School. Every time the church doors were open Frances and her family were there. She grounded her daughters in strong belief and trust in God. One of our lasting memories is seeing her on her knees praying at night beside her bed.
Frances was a wife and mother for all the years Carole and Ruth were growing up. She took the girls to and from school, to piano lessons, organ lessons and even the dreaded swimming lessons! After the girls were grown, she worked in the cafeteria in McDowell High School for around ten years and really enjoyed this job. She made the delicious yeast rolls among other things! She was a great cook.
Frances was a brave and courageous woman her entire life and faced many challenges especially in the last 18 years of her life but she also had many wonderful experiences in her life.
* She and Harold went fishing on the North Carolina coast for many years with Mollie and Guy Burnette.
* She and Harold took Christian Tours trips to the World’s Fair in Tennessee and into Amish Country and other places with their friends Mollie and Guy Burnette, Harley and Ruby Walker.
* She and Harold and the girls made the annual trip to Birmingham, Alabama for many years to visit her parents, brothers and other family members.
* After Harold passed away in 1988 she teamed up with Edith Duncan and they became inseparable. One of the highlights was the trip to Hawaii where they learned to Hula Dance in grass skirts, saw the Don Ho show, visited the Pineapple Plantations, attended a Luau and the USS Arizona Monument.
*Frances visited Don and Carole Markum in Los Angeles several times with Ruth and/or Edith and thoroughly enjoyed the sights at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Chinese Theater, Olivera Street and to the play "The Lion King" in Hollywood. She was even brave enough to
trek into Tijuana, Mexico. Attending services at the Crystal Cathedral was also a highlight of every trip.
*In 1990 Frances, Ruth and Edith returned to Los Angeles for Don and Carole's wedding at the Crystal Cathedral.
*In 1991 Frances married Clyde Whitson in a double wedding with Edith Duncan and Arthur Lloyd. Frances and Clyde were married for 10 years until his death in 2001. During that time Frances and Clyde visited Los Angeles and traveled to the Sequoia National Park to see the giant trees, the Hearst Castle, Moro Bay and Santa Barbara.
* In 2002 Frances came to Los Angeles on her own to be with Don and Carole when Don had knee replacement surgery and she bravely drove Don all around Los Angeles on the freeways even into downtown; nothing phased her! In February 2002 Terry and Elaine Sloan flew out to Los Angeles to drive the moving truck helping Don and Carole return to Marion. The trip was an adventure with visits to the Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Grand Canyon complete with an airplane ride over the canyon and visiting Don’s family in Oklahoma. It was a trip to remember.
Frances lived her life fully and touched the lives of everyone with whom she came in contact – family, friends and acquaintances. She loved her family, her home, her garden and yard and was devoted to caring for them all to the best of her ability. She did a great job!
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, William Harold Woody; her second husband, Clyde Whitson; a grandson, Taylor Parker; and two brothers, Harry Lee "Buck" Waldron, Jr. and William Boyd Waldron.
She is survived by her two children, Don and Carole Woody Markum and Eddie and Ruth Woody Parker; one grandson, William Lucas Day and wife Rachel; four great-grandchildren, Haley Day, Hunter Day, Natalie Parker, and Leah Parker; one sister, Terri Gass; a sister-in-law, Carolyn Waldron; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Frances had a very long life that ended at Autumn Care Skilled Nursing Facility where she was quite the feisty resident. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks are extended to the Activity Directors, many nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA's), Nurse Practitioners and doctors who cared for her and loved her over the last four years of her life along with the wonderful women who were her roommates. After Frances had the stroke her ability to walk was affected and she needed to have a wheelchair ramp in order to get into her home. The men at First Baptist Church built her a ramp which was so helpful. To honor that effort we invite you to make a donation to the Willing Workers Wheelchair Ramp Fund at First Baptist Church, 99 North Main Street, Marion, NC 28752 in her memory and honor. We ask you to celebrate her life by remembering the times you and she shared over the 92 years of her life and remember her with love and know that she is now celebrating with her family and friends in heaven. We would love to hear about your relationship with Frances during her life on this earth.
Frances will be laid to rest in a private service at McDowell Memorial Park.