Frances Pauline Dobbs Black-Wright of Ashton, IL, formerly of Grinnell Iowa, and Iowa City, IA went to be with our Lord and Savior on Saturday June 22, 2013 at Franklin Grove Living and Rehab Center.
She was born on September 2, 1926 in Grinnell, IA to Edmund A. and Dora Lee (Alexander) Dobbs. She was the last of five children. She married Dr. Robert D. Bahr in 1949 and had one daughter Cheryl Ann. Frances later divorced and remarried Henry M. Black of Iowa City, IA on October 14, 1955 in Iowa City. Mr. Black a widower had four children from a previous marriage. Together Frances and Henry had five more children. The family resided in Iowa City. After Henry passed away in March 29, 1978, she married Vernon Wright on July 22, 1995 and lived in Ashton for 16 years.
During her childhood, Frances learned and loved to tap dance. In 1933, she and her friend performed on the radio station WHO on the Saturday Night Show. In 1934 she met Lawrence Welk and tap danced with his band on the radio while on tour in Marshalltown Iowa. This was a big thrill for Frances; she said he gave her pointers before performing. In 1935, she performed at the Iowa State Fair Home Talent Show in Des Moines, IA. As a teenager her first job was working at a grocery store where she learned to butcher meat. She made 19 cents per hour. She graduated from Grinnell High School in 1944.
Frances then moved to Wisconsin to live with her sister. She saw a young woman in a cadet nurse uniform and decided she wanted to be a nurse too. So she joined the United States Cadet Nurse Corp in 1945-1948. She worked at Madison General Hospital and cared for servicemen during WWII. Her training included working at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. After graduating from the Nursing Cadet Corp, Frances had to repay the government with 4,000 service hours of hospital nursing. After completing her obligation to the government she returned to Grinnell to work at Grinnell General Hospital for $1.00 per hour. She also joined the VFW there.
In 1956, she moved to Iowa City to continue her education at the University of Iowa earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Then Frances pursued post graduate work in Psychiatric Nursing while teaching OB nursing at the University of Iowa. She also held a position as charge nurse of the Cystoscopy Department at the University, and then night supervisor. In the late 1960’s, she took a position as Director at the School of Nursing at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City; where she also taught pharmacology. Nursing was always her passion. Frances and her husband Henry established and managed four rental complexes, called Black’s Gaslight Village from 1956 to 1987. All the while she raised a family, worked as a nurse and managed the village. Frances and Henry spent many laborious days building the family business. Frances sold the village, retired in 1987 and moved to Ashton, IL.
Frances remained active. traveling the US and Europe, and loved to spend time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed reading scripture, writing poetry, song writing, crocheting, sewing, quilting, flower arranging, shopping and camping with her family when the children were small. Frances published a poem “Night Nurse’s Plight” in the Poetic Voices of America Spring 1993. She enjoyed fellowship with her family and friends. She was funny and quick witted. She was a generous philanthropist. She was willing to help others in need and sometimes anonymously. In 1973, Frances became a member of Pine Creek Independent Church. She and her children would drive a 240 mile round trip every week from Iowa City to Polo, IL just to go to church. That showed her love and dedication to her faith.
Frances was survived by her husband Vernon Wright; two daughters: Cheryl Ann (Joseph) Dyer of Thompson, PA; Doralee(Jack) Erickson of Ashton, IL; and two sons: Henry(Bonita) Black of Rockford, IL ; George Black of Galesburg, IL. ; three daughter-in-laws: Rosalie and Debbie Black, and Lam Blacknguyen; one step daughter of Henry Black: Judy(John) Bogle, and 9 stepchildren of Vernon and Evelyn Wright: Beeda, Jack, William, Janet (deceased), Orville, Kevin, Miriam, Debbie and Matthew. one sister, Grace Marty, of Sun Prairie, WI;
Frances was also survived by her 16 loving grandchildren: Christopher, Jon, Carrisa, Tanisha, Anthony, James, MailamEmily, ImxuanVivian, Audra, Ashley, Abby, Sean, Kristina, Jordan, Sarah, Laurel, and three step grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her first two husbands: Robert Bahr and Henry Black; two sons: Curtis and Edmund Black; four stepsons: James Ferguson-Black, Quentin, Kenneth and Gary Black, her parents and all her brothers: Curtis, Arnold and George Dobbs and two grandsons: Joseph Dyer and Derek Jasper.
Visitation will be held at the Finch Funeral Home in Mt Morris, IL. Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 10 am to 12 pm. The funeral service will be begin at noon at the funeral home with a graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery in Mt Morris IL. Officiating the service is Pastor Ryan Jasper of Pine Creek Independent Church, Polo, IL. A memorial has been established for the Pine Creek Independent Church. Frances has a Facebook Page. Condolences can be expressed there also.
We are extremely grateful to all the amazing nurses and staff at Franklin Grove Living and Rehab Center for all their compassionate care and loving support during Frances’ 2 year residency. A heartfelt thank you is extended to all the doctors, nurses and staff at KSB hospital for their excellent management of Frances’ health care needs during her recent illness. We sincerely thank the Serenity Hospice team for their help with Frances’ transition from this life to glory. www.finchfuneral.com