Frankie Lee Spears passed away peacefully Tuesday night, March 19th at the hospital in Viroqua, WI. Her daughter, Brenda, and son-in-law, Jack, were at her bedside as she gracefully crossed over from this world into the next. She had several hard weeks prior to her passing when she experienced great pain and discomfort. Her doctor and so many people at Sannes Nursing Home and Vernon Memorial Hospital worked diligently to comfort and ease Frankie's passage. So many friends offered their love, prayers and healing energy, with Vernon Memorial Hospice forming a foundational support. We are so grateful for the support and expertise from so many loving and caring people.
We are planning a Celebration of Life Memorial sometime in late spring or early summer with the date to be announced. If you so desire, making a donation to a cause of your choice in her honor would be a lovely gesture. We thank you for being a part of her life.
Frankie was born in Montpelier, Idaho October 21, 1923 to a fourth generation baker. Her given name was Frankie as she was supposed to be a boy. She complied the best she could by being a rambunctious tomboy as a child. She grew up helping in the bakery, the Royal Bakery, with her parents, Vera and Frank, and her two sisters, Edythe and Norma Ruth. Just out of high school, she had to chose between love and her dream of a career in cartooning with Walt Disney. She decided on marriage and family and married a local man, Donell Pendrey, and had a son, Michael Don. Donell joined the navy, but sadly died in WWII aboard a ship somewhere in the Pacific. A few years later, Frankie married Glenn Spears, who was known as "Pinkie". Frankie and Pinkie settled in Kemmerer, Wyoming and two years later gave birth to Brenda. My brother and I could not have asked for more loving and supportive parents.
Frankie was a self-taught artist learning to paint with oils on canvas, producing amazing works. She loved crafts, made pottery, sewed dresses for Brenda's dolls, took hand-me-downs from her friend's teenage girls and created a beautiful wardrobe for Brenda. Holidays became her opportunity to create. She loved painting the most intricate scenes on Easter eggs. They were more works of art than eggs to crack. Christmas wrapping was eloquently done. Frankie worked in the local grocery store. IGA, in Kemmerer always with the longest line of the three check-out stands as people were more than willing to wait in order to visit with her. She loved people and became friends with nearly everyone in town. She was everybody's shoulder to cry on, offering love and comfort. She used to share that people would drop by to talk, them talking - her listening mostly, and they would leave very relieved and thankful for all her help. She always smiled at that as she felt she hadn't done that much to assist. She just had a way of making people smile. Her husband, Pinkie, powered large equipment in a strip coal mine just outside of town. In retirement, he passed away in 1990 naturally leaving a large void in her life.
Back in 1967 in the space of six months, Frankie lost both her parents to cancer and diabetic complications and then her younger sister, Norma Ruth, to a brain aneurysm. Frankie was a very special aunt to Norma's son, Gregory. Gregory's father, Freddy, continued running the bakery. Frankie's older sister, Edythe, raised cattle and farmed just outside of Montpelier, ID in a tiny farming community called Pegram. Frankie and Pinkie looked forward every year to calving season as they loved helping out and being out in the fresh country air with the sounds of roosters to wake them in the morning. Frankie's whole family and all her close friends loved to camp out and they spent weekends and vacations laughing and loving the great outdoors.
About five months after her sister Edythe passed in 2005, Frankie decided that it was time to move closer to Jack and Brenda even though that meant bravely moving from the area she had lived her entire life. The night before they were set to leave for Wisconsin, the devastating news of her son's sudden passing came, so instead of traveling east to Wisconsin, it was a trip west to Fresno, California for services for Michael. As you can imagine, there was deep grief and it took quite a toll on her and Brenda & Jack.
Frankie, being a strong and independent spirit, wanted her own place in Viroqua, WI. She lived a short time on her own, then her health called for more continuous care which Brenda & Jack were happy and blessed to provide for 6 years at their home in La Farge, WI where they enjoyed many good times and created fond and loving memories which bring great comfort now. Then in December, 2012 pace maker surgery required after-care and rehabilitation that Sannes Nursing Facility in Soldiers Grove, WI provided. She never regained enough strength to return home and remained at Sannes until a week before her passing in the hospital. The people at Sannes became like family to her and we are comforted to know she was so loved and nurtured by them. The hospital and hospice staff also offered great care and compassion to her and to us as we sat vigil during her transition period.
It touches us deeply that our family and friends hold us all in such a loving embrace. We are forever grateful to everyone.