Frances Maxine Elder
Frances Maxine Elder
  • August 26, 1929 - November 16, 2017
  • Dallas, Texas

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Frances Maxine Elder was a native North Texan with an enormous amount of spirit. She was born Frances Phillips in Rockwall and lived her early life in Garland. She lived in Austin, Houston and Tehran, Iran before settling in Dallas in the Wilshire Heights neighborhood in 1979.

Fran taught roller skating and skate racing at Deuback’s Skating Rink on Greenville when she was a teenager, and she continued to skate as a young adult. She was a member of the skate hockey team, the Sputnicks, when her children were young. In the 1970’s, Fran also occasionally drove a race car at the Yellow Belly Racetrack.

Fran was a very successful business woman, along with her husband Ed Elder. They owned a restaurant in Austin called The Little Hut, where Fran cooked homemade meals and served hundreds of people daily. She was renowned for her chicken fried steak and fried pies.

In 1979, Fran and Ed opened Chief’s Locksmiths in Dallas, Texas, where they eventually grew the business to three locations and became one of the top locksmith companies in the area. When they sold the business and retired, Fran took care of Ed for twelve years while he suffered from Alzheimer’s. During that time, she taught herself to paint and painted for years, creating over 100 oil paintings, most of which she gave to family. She specialized in rustic scenes reflecting the natural themes of mountains and lakes, wildlife, and landscapes. Her paintings make you want to snuggle up to the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa.

In 1999, Fran took a turn from painting and started a performance group with her two best friends, Ruth Smith and Cleo Brown. They performed as The Andrew Sisters, with full costumes and choreography, and lip-synched to hits such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”, “I’m In The Mood” and “Mr. Sandman.”

They performed at their church, Casa View Baptist Church, and were such a hit that they continued to perform for eight years. They were featured acts at The State Fair of Texas and Ebby Halliday’s annual parties, as well as numerous churches, retirement homes and assisted living facilities. The three of them were natural performers and captivated audiences, who would often get up to dance and sing along.

Fran was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Elder, and her two sons, Gerry (and Cindy) Rigsby and Jody (and Henrietta) Rigsby. She is survived by her brothers, Wayne Phillips and Tony (and Paula) Phillips, her daughter, Anne (and Steve) Price, her grandchildren, Kristi Weaver, Jeff Weaver, Todd Weaver, Josh (and Asha) Rigsby, Cassie Rigsby, Ashley Carter, Matthew (and Adrienne) Rigsby and Nicky Rigsby, and her great grandchildren, Lindsi Weaver, Jordan Maynoldi, Gabe Rigsby, Lauren Weaver and Jack Weaver.