Frances Marie Lightner
1930 - 2021
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Frances Marie Lightner

Springfield - On Jan. 8, 2021, Frances Marie Lightner, the family Matriarch, left us to reunite and rejoice with her husband of 67 years, and her first convert to Christ, Reverend Joe.

She was born July 6, 1930 in Lowry City, Missouri to Roy and Bertha (Simmons) Foster. One of seven children, and living through the depression era, work ethic and caring for family became her way of life.

She grew up in Clinton where she graduated high school early. Soon after, Reverend Joe came calling. She made it clear that their relationship would include God. She convinced him, and they were married in 1948. At some points in her life, she may have second guessed how strongly she convinced him! He was called to ministry, and together they served Methodist congregations in Fair Grove, Corder, Conway, Tipton and Willard, Missouri during which time three children were born.

While in Willard, Joe was called into Evangelism. Frances, always the supportive wife in ministry, then jumped into the business world, and proved to be very adept. She was an executive assistant to E.H. Greene at Greene Investment Company, helping manage several local Banks, for over 30 years. Her next business venture was as executive assistant to Gary Pendergrass at Syntex Environmental, from which she retired after completion of the Times Beach Superfund Project.

Throughout her life, she touched many young people through her work in the Church, and Sunday School. She practiced compassionate Christianity, demonstrating Christlike behavior, not preaching it. She believed in Love, not Judgment. Even more than all of this, she was Family. At every event, always ready to talk, ready to help, ready to fix every problem, and always praying.

She not only was the greatest cook, but she insisted on hosting the big events way longer than she should have, and it still was always perfect.

She and Joe were married 67 years until his passing in 2015 and is survived by her three children, Linda Hobbs (Bill), John Lightner (Kathy) and Jim Lightner (Michelle) all residing in Springfield. She has 8 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild also in the Springfield area and her youngest brother David Foster of Kansas City, brother and sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at a later date and the family asks that any memorial contributions be made to Ozarks Food Harvest, or a charity that is special to you. Online condolences may be made at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in News-Leader from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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