Frances Gardner
Frances Gardner
  • September 3, 1922 - March 6, 2017
  • Hamilton, Texas

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Frances Leona Guest Gardner was born September 3, 1922 at the family ranch in the Sunshine Community to Mollie Haile Guest and John Olin Guest. She passed away on March 6, 2017 in Hamilton.

She graduated from Carlton High School where she was a cheerleader and active in all sports. She was an accomplished horsewoman and won many barrel racing competitions. Upon graduation from high school, she moved to Dallas where she was riveter in the North American Aviation aircraft plant during World War II. While living in Dallas, she went to visit a Marine from Hamilton who was recovering in the Dallas Veterans Hospital. A courtship began, and on September 28, 1946 Frances married Luther Winford Gardner, Jr.

She worked with her husband to start and operate Farmers Propane Gas Company in the mid 1940's. Having grown up on the family ranch, she later returned to ranching and cattle raising which she remained active in until just a few years ago. She was a well-known cook and loved to entertain large groups both at her home in town and also at the ranch. As a grandmother, Grammy treasured creating custom birthday cakes for her three grandchildren's parties. Each summer when they were young, she hosted "Camp Frances" teaching the grandchildren to fish, ride horses and work on the ranch.

She was a long-time member of First Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School and organized social events for many years. She was an adult leader of the Camp Fire Girls and also a member of the Colonial Study Club. She actively volunteered for the Hamilton County Historical Museum for over 40 years, where she served many years as President. She was instrumental in moving the museum to its present location in the old jail building. She was also a member of the Hamilton County Historical Commission. She enjoyed traveling to many countries around the world, first with L.W. and then after his death with her daughter, Mollie.

L.W. predeceased her on November 12, 1984. Her daughter, Mollie Lyn Gardner predeceased her on December 26, 2012. She is survived by her son and his wife, Stanley Gardner and Sara Lee Gardner. She also leaves three beloved grandchildren, John Madison Gardner, Helen Frances Gardner and Luther Winford Gardner, III.

The family welcomes friends to a visitation on Friday, March 10 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Riley Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 11 at Oakwood Cemetery, followed by a memorial celebration at First Baptist Church in Hamilton at 11:00 am. The family wishes to thank the many people who cared for Frances in her later years including Dr. Randy Lee and his staff, the caring staff at Dove Hill, and especially, Anisa Whitehead, her caregiver for the last year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church in Hamilton or the Hamilton County Historical Museum.