Frances M. Herndon

Kennett Square, Pa. — Frances M. Herndon died Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 16 days before her 95th birthday. Fran, beloved by and devoted to family, friends, colleagues and caregivers added a gentle sparkle to our lives. Her dignity, wit, wisdom, and sincere interest in us, whether she knew us for a moment or a lifetime were remarkable. Fran had a gift for listening, really listening, for being far more interested in hearing our stories than in telling her own.

Fran was born March 4, 1918, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., the daughter of Ruth M. and Paul H. Mac Nally. She graduated from the Baldwin School and Wells College and married the irrepressible Dale L. Herndon in 1942. They were each other’s best friend. He predeceased her in 2001.

Fran’s many talents and interests included her advocacy and compassion for the mentally ill. She dedicated 27 years volunteering at the Embreeville Hospital, a mental health center, served on it’s board and as board president and delivered armsful of roses on every visit.

Her love of flowers lead to her involvement in the Spade and Trowel Club of Kennett Square, Pa. Fran could transform the most mundane vase and handful of flowers into a breathtaking arrangement.

Her interest in antiques inspired her involvement in the Old Kennett Questers and ultimately to her securing a position as senior guide and lecturer at Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Del. from 1968 to 1985. She loved every minute at Winterthur; it was a role she found intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

Fran’s skills as an author of short stories and poems for young and old are legendary. Her tales of “Miss Fussbudget” and “Mortimer Crabby” have spellbound three generations of headstrong offspring.

She was a faithful Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fan.

Fran always said her crowning achievement in her long, happy life was her family, demonstrated by her pride in and devotion to her husband, children, their spouses, her grandchildren, their spouses and great grands.

She is survived by her children: Elizabeth Rupp, West Chester, Pa., Sally Rutter and her husband, Jerry, Lebanon, N.H., Carolyn Ames and her husband, Will, Holden, Mass.; Paul Herndon and his wife, Amy Jo, Ann, Arbor, Mich.; nine grandchildren and their spouses; six great grandchildren; dearly loved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Kendal at Longwood, Kennett Square, her home for 32 years, Saturday, March 9 are 2 p.m.

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