Frances C. Hester
Frances C. Hester
  • March 10, 1926 - July 13, 2017
  • Columbia, South Carolina

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COLUMBIA - Frances “Fran” Carlisle Hester, 91, passed away peacefully on July 13, 2017 at the home of Deena and Craig Faris in Rock Hill, South Carolina. This caring and devoted mother loved her family deeply. She was a talented singer and choral director who shared her passion for music with others.

Fran grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. She graduated from Dreher High School in 1942 and began her college education at USC. She continued her studies at the Julliard School of Music and Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City. In 1946, she married Joseph Cook Hester of Waco, Texas. After World War II, Fran and Joe sang professionally in New York City. They were known as the Singing Hesters and were booked as entertainers at many well-attended events. They even had the privilege of singing at a tea honoring Eleanor Roosevelt. Fran was a professional soprano soloist for West End Collegiate Church and sang with the Robert Shaw Chorale. In addition, she and Joe sang with the Vinaver Symphonic Voices, a professional group who toured the United States. In 1949, Fran was selected to be a singer on the Voices of Firestone television show that was simulcast live every Monday night. Italy became her home in 1950, when she and Joe won a Fulbright Scholarship to study and perform opera at the Saint Cecelia Conservatory in Rome.

In 1954, Fran and Joe started a family and it was their desire to return to South Carolina to raise their children. Conway, South Carolina became their new home and Fran taught choral music and voice in the secondary schools for twenty years. To further her education, she earned her Masters in Music Education at USC in Columbia. Fran also taught private voice lessons in her home as well as directed adult and children’s choirs at various churches in Horry County. After retiring and moving back to Columbia, Fran became active at Centennial ARP church – the same church she attended as a child. She was also active and held office in The Afternoon Music Club of Columbia.

Frances is survived by her son, Renwick Carlisle Hester of Seattle, Washington; her daughter, Deena Hester Faris (Craig) of Rock Hill; a granddaughter, Kathryn Faris Loeper (Kevin) of Chicago, Illinois; a grandson, Charles Joseph Hester of Rock Hill; a niece, Rosemarie Hester of Brooklyn, New York; a nephew, John Hester (Jackie) of California; and two first cousins, Edna Earle Fant Dowd (Wyman) of Prosperity, South Carolina and Maffett Fant (Shirley) of Silverstreet, South Carolina.

Her husband, Joseph Hester and her son, Harlan Stone Hester, preceded Frances in death.

The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at Hospice and Community Care of Rock Hill for everything they did for Fran during her extended illness. They would also like to thank her caregiver, Tonya Blake, for her excellent nursing skills and devotion.

A funeral service will be held at Centennial ARP Church 1413 Laurel Street Columbia, SC 29205 on Monday afternoon, July 17, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. Burial will follow the funeral at Greenlawn Memorial Park, 845 Leesburg Road Columbia, SC 29209. Visitation will be held at Dunbar Funeral Home, 3926 Devine Street, Columbia, SC on Sunday night, July 16, 2017 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Centennial ARP or Hospice and Community Care of Rock Hill, 2275 India Hook Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29732.