Mary Frances (Brown) Craven, 89, of Larned and formerly of Russell died Friday morning, January 6, 2017 at Diversicare in Larned, Kansas. Frances was born September 29, 1927 in Hays, Kansas the daughter of John A. and Dorothy Ruth (Lacey) Brown. As the first child in her family to be born in a hospital, Frances was amused by the fact that St. Anthony Hospital of Hays charged only $13.00 for the birth. Frances grew up on the family farm just west of Russell, was a Merit Scholar and graduated from Russell High School in 1945.
Frances was united in marriage to Arthur Loyd "Red" Craven on April 25, 1947 at Emporia Kansas by the Reverend Stephen J. Williams, a former Russell resident and high school teacher of Red's. This union was blessed with three children, Teresa Jean, Robert Dean and Barbara Lynn. Red preceded her in death on May 2, 1993. She helped Red operate his plumbing business by answering the phone and taking messages. Although Frances never considered herself a good cook, her family has many fond memories of delicious turkey dinners with all the trimmings, mouthwatering bierocks, pecan brittle, and many other culinary delights she whipped up over the years. Sewing was a lifelong passion. Frances made clothes for herself and her family, sewed dozens of “Dressy Bessie” type stuffed dolls, made countless outfits for Barbie dolls, reupholstered chairs, made quilts, and was a whiz at mending everything from bib overalls to socks. Frances could do anything with a needle and thread. Knitting was also a passion. Frances produced mittens, sweaters, dog sweaters and even tiny Barbie doll sweaters. She attended craft shows with daughter Teresa, selling "Clothes for Barbie & Ken" and other handmade items. Genealogy research was another passion. Her knowledge of the Lacey/Brown and Craven/Foulke lines was extensive. Frances was researching the family tree and collecting family history before this was a common hobby. Frances enjoyed woodworking and built many items including bird houses and bookshelves. She was especially pleased when Red bought her a circular saw along with a Black & Decker Workmate.
Frances was an avid reader who made frequent trips to the library. Frances loved to take drives in the country in her pickup truck. She always seemed to take the long way home. Frances enjoyed those untraveled roads where she might spy a pretty rock to add to her rock garden. She once said, “I think I have driven on every country road in Russell county.” Frances quit going the long way home when she realized, “I could no longer walk that far.” In March 2011, Frances moved, under protest, to Larned to live with her daughter because of failing health. Due to further failing health, Frances moved to Diversicare of Larned in January 2014.
Surviving family include daughters, Teresa Craven of Larned, Kansas, Barbara Olsen (Patrick) of
Moscow, Idaho and son, Robert Craven (Charmarose) of Luray, Kansas; four grandchildren, Jennifer Miller (Craig) of Wichita, Kansas, Warren Craven (Joanna) of Luray, Kansas, Griffin Olsen, and Lacey Olsen of Moscow, Idaho; four great grandsons Warren Jr., Tyler, and Matthew Craven, Reed Thomas and 3 step great grandsons Mackenzie, Curtis, and Braeden Miller, sister-in-law, Mary Alice Craven of Hays, Kansas, several cousins, nieces, nephews and many special friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers John Brown and James Brown.
As she wished, there will be no service and a private burial of ashes will follow at a later date.
Memorials may be given to the Russell Library or the Jordaan Memorial Library, Larned.
Contributions and condolences may be sent in care of Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary who is in charge of these arrangements.