Mary Frances Gates died October 8, 2011, in Cripple Creek, Colorado. She was born on May 22, 1924, to Elfreda and Bennie Crowe in Albuquerque, N.M. “Francie” was known for her lively personality and generous spirit. Francie made a difference in the lives of many people.
She attended schools in Texas, and graduated from Perryton High School in 1942. Frances was working at the First National Bank in Meade and Dean had returned home from WW II when they met. In June 1946 Dean and Frances were married at the Episcopal Church in Meade. Together they purchased a pharmacy in 1948 and Gates Drug Co. was in operation for the next 41 years. Their union was blessed with two sons, Zachary Dean in 1951 and Gregory Lane in 1952. During that time she became a licensed beautician and also ran a floral shop in the 1950’s. They actively supported the Chamber of Commerce and in 1976 Frances was the first woman named “Citizen of the Year.” She was a devoted Democrat and served as the Meade County chair for years. In 1984 Frances ran for State Legislature. She may have lost the race, but Meade supported her well. In the 1980’s Governor John Carlin appointed her as the first woman to serve on the Kansas Highway Commission. Francie was an active member of PEO and the Episcopal Church.
Francie loved to travel and enjoyed gourmet cooking. She loved to dance and play bridge. Francie took flying lessons in the 1960’s and was known for her beautiful needle point. She had a wonderful sense of humor and always had a good joke to tell. Francie loved people and never met a stranger. She opened her home and heart to dignitaries and the homeless alike.
Left to celebrate her life are her son Greg Gates of North Dakota, and grandson Jeremy Gates of Woodland Park, CO. Francie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Dean, her son Zach, and her only sister Laverne Metz, also known as “Birdie.” After losing Zach in September 1985, Francie devoted her energies to helping raise her grandson Jeremy. She later moved to Woodland Park, CO, to be near both Greg and Jeremy. Jeremy fondly referred to her as “Honey.” Francie enjoyed peace and contentment for over a decade in her mountain cabin at Divide, CO. She left this world a better place.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 31,2012 at Fidler-Orme-Bachman Mortuary Chapel, Meade. Inurnment will follow in the Graceland Cemetery, Meade. Memorials may be left in care of Bachman Mortuary.