Frances Cambre Pierce who lovingly raised five children and then re-invented herself as a business owner at age 62, passed away in Madison, Mississippi on August 13. She was 99.
Frances was born in 1918 and was the youngest of eight children. As a child, she witnessed the Roarin’ Twenties through the adventures of her older “flapper girl” sisters and lived through the Great Depression, sharing meals with hobos who showed up on the family doorstep.
She learned to play piano at an early age through her family of amateur “living room” musicians, as she called them, all of whom played together whenever visitors stayed with them. A gifted pianist who played mostly by ear, Frances possessed a tender style that was a joy to hear and see.
She married Kermit Aubrey Pierce in 1943 at the age of 25. World War II was in full swing, and soon after they were married, he was deployed for European duty as a B-17 Bombardier leaving Frances behind to care for their newborn child, Gail Crane. Being away from her new husband had many uncertainties and fears but finally after completing his missions Kermit returned to the states and began civilian life with his family.
When the war ended, the young family moved to New Orleans and put down roots there until all their children finished school. The couple then moved to Covington, LA in 1972 and Frances started a new chapter of her life with more time and freedom for golfing with Kermit, gardening at the family ranch, and doting on her grandchildren. Frances spent five happy years together there with Kermit until he died of a stroke, leaving Frances widowed at the age of 59.
Life changed dramatically — but did not end — when her husband died. Three years after his death, Frances moved to Broussard, LA, opened a retail gift shop, and became a successful business owner. She called it a “wonderful learning experience as well as therapy”. In those years, her store became a go-to shop in the community. And her new home in Broussard quickly became the hub for large family gatherings and for frequent impromptu visits from her grandchildren, who could always count on her for a warm meal, a listening ear, and of course, lots of hugs.
She reinvented herself once more in 2000 when she moved to St Catherine Village in Madison, Mississippi, became the first female member of the community’s Investment Club, and started a flower garden on the grounds where she could “learn more about nature and experience the earth.”
Constantly learning,cultivating, and doing, Frances inspired and influenced the lives of all who have survived her, including five children, 10 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and countless friends and caregivers. The love she radiated is best expressed in these words from her late husband Kermit, who wrote just a few years before he died, “I have had a rich and rewarding life, and the one who has made this a full life for me is the girl I married 31 years ago, Fran Pierce.”