Mary Jennings Franz, 92, died Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at her home in Jacksonville, Ill.
Mary and her late husband, Edgar enjoyed a long and devoted life together. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are Trina and Bob Meek, Kristen, Tom, Hannah and Fisher DeWitt; Aaron, Heather, Rylie, Ian and Finn Meek; Sean, Deea, Conner and Gavin Meek; Robert Jonathan Meek (deceased); Gretchen Wittmann (deceased), Richard Wittmann (wife Ginger); Gretta, Adam and Wyatt Lowry; Garth Wittmann and Lesley Knebel; Zachary and Becca Wittmann; Gentz and Jeri Franz; Gentzy, Lori, Brennan, Zoe, Ava and Hayzel Franz; Kari and Kelly McBride, Carter, Owen, and Max Casson, Rory McBride; Maggie Franz; John Franz (fiancée Shayna Sullivan); Jakob Franz (deceased); Heidi and Jim Agner; Bart Agner; Jesse Agner (fiancée Margaret Hunter).
Mary was born Sept. 20, 1921, in Alton, the daughter of Mansfield and Margaret Hems Jennings. She had seven siblings: Hugh, Helen, Dorothyann, Mansfield, Winifred, Vivienne (all deceased), and Susan (Ohio).
Mary graduated from Alton High School in 1938 and from Shurtleff College in 1942. After teaching music at East Alton High School, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy WAVES in 1944. She served as a Navy Corpsman until 1946, working in rehabilitation with servicemen who had lost their sight in combat. After a long-distance courtship conducted entirely by V-mail during World War II, she married Edgar A. Franz on May 18, 1946, in Alton.
Mary received a master's degree in music education from the University of Iowa in 1949. Over the years she played violin with the University of Iowa Symphony, the Augusta (Georgia) Symphony, the Alton Symphony, the Quincy Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony. Mary was involved in many volunteer activities, including serving on the board of the Jacksonville First Presbyterian Church, holding office on Great Rivers Presbytery and Morgan County Right to Life, advocating for the unborn, teaching Sunday School, and serving as a volunteer for the Public Welfare Office, the Jacksonville State Hospital and Doorbell Dinners. She was a member of the Jacksonville Explorers Bible Class for many years.
Mary was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved her family, her faith, and she loved writing letters.
Following cremation at Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville, a Service to Honor and Remember Mary Franz will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1053 East Vandalia Road, Jacksonville. The family will meet with friends from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church. Memorials are suggested to In His Service Haitian Medical Mission, Explorers Bible Study, Morgan County Right to Life, Culver Stockton College and Illinois College. Condolences may be left at www.buchanancody.com.