Obituary for Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Grant
Frances E. (Johnston) Grant, age 84 of Sidney, passed away Thursday evening, October 25, 2012, at the Sidney Regional Medical Center Extended Care.
Rosary services will be held at 6:00 P.M., Sunday, October 28th and a Mass of Christian Burial at 2:30 P.M., Monday, October 29th. Both services will be held at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sidney, with Fr. Art Faesser officiating. Burial will be in the Greenwood Cemetery.
Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Sunday from 1-4:00 P.M.
Memorial contributions may be made in Frances’ name to the Association for Retarded Citizens, King’s Daughters, or St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
You may view Frances’ Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com
Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service LLC, is in charge of Frances’ care and funeral arrangements.
Frances was born in Sidney on September 6, 1928, to Frederick William and Anna Florence (Stack) Johnston. The family resided on a farm east of Dalton and raised dry land corn, wheat and fed cattle. Frances and her brother, Frederick Jr., attended rural school District #52 until high school, when they moved to Sidney and enrolled at St. Patrick’s Academy. She graduated Salutatorian of her class in 1946 and attended Loretto Heights College in Denver. Her post-secondary education was interrupted when Frances returned home to help care for her invalid mother. On returning to Sidney, she would meet her future husband, Martin F. Grant of Chappell, NE. On October 21, 1950, they were married at St. Patrick’s Church in Sidney and moved to Chappell where they operated the family farm. For the next 36 years, she acted as a wife/partner to her husband and a mother to their nine children.
Frances continued to further her education while fulfilling her duties as wife, farm business bookkeeper and mother. She earned college credit by taking courses at Western Nebraska Technical Community College, attending summer school at Chadron State College and pursuing correspondence courses through UN-L and Chadron State College. In 1986 she became a full-time student and accomplished a life-long dream of returning to college at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and in 1988 was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in English.
She was employed at Midwest Agricultural Land Company and Community Action Agency while residing in Sidney.
Martin passed away in February of 1986 and on February 1, 2002 she married Thomas O’Connell in Sidney.
While raising her children, Frances demonstrated a devotion to her family, church and community by committing herself to the following: Beta Sigma Phi: Charter member of the Beta Alpha Chapter and served as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and was voted “Girl of the Year.” She was co-founder and first President of the Tri-County/Cheyenne County Association for Retarded Citizens and also served as Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Fran was a member and secretary of the Office of Mental Retardation Advisory Board. She served on the Governor’s Council of Developmental Disabilities for two terms and was Co-founder and first President of Parents for the Learning Disabled. Frances served as 4-H Leader and Room Mother for the Elementary School. She served as Teacher and Sponsor for the Junior Great Books Class which fostered and encouraged classical book reading among Junior High age students and adults. In 1976 Fran co-founded the national organization of Women Involved in Farm Economics with Marilyn Spiker, and was a Vice-President of the local American Cancer Society and member of the Ladies Chamber of Commerce. As a devoted member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Frances served on the Altar Society, the Parish Council where she served as Secretary and the School Board (Secretary and Vice-President). She was also a CCD Religion Teacher, Lector, Commentator, and choir member. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America and was the Deanery President of the Diocesan Council of Women. She was Past President of the King’s Daughters and a member of Nebraskans for Peace.
Frances is survived by: (9) children: Kathleen Grant of Omaha, NE, Elizabeth Grant Edwards and husband Gary of Bellevue, NE, Martin Grant Jr. of Plainview, NE, Jonathan Grant of Gurley NE, Michael Grant and wife Russette of Lexington, KY, Cecilia Grant of Sidney, NE, Barbara Grant Snyder and husband Patrick of Sidney, NE, James Grant and wife Michelle of Lincoln, NE, and Julia Grant and husband Marc Seger of Omaha, NE; (21) grandchildren; (1) great-grandchild; husband Thomas O’Connell of Sidney; (1) brother Frederick Johnston, Jr. and several nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Frances was preceded in death by her parents Frederick and Florence and husband Martin Grant.