Mary Frances "Fran" Schwartz
Mary Frances “Fran” Schwartz, 80, died January 21, 2017 at Concordia Village, Springfield, IL from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was born November 13, 1936 in Buffalo, IL to Willard and Elizabeth (Costello) Fuhrwerk, and grew up with her sister, Barb, in the house their dad built on Stanford Avenue in Springfield, IL.
She was married for 57 years to the love of her life, Frank G. “Beaver” Schwartz on November 21, 1959. She was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother Lester Carl Fuhrwerk, and infant son Paul Schwartz.
Fran was in the first graduating class of Little Flower School in 1950, a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy in 1954, a graduate of St. John’s School of Nursing in 1957, and was the first head nurse in St. John’s Hospital Recovery Room.
She was effortlessly classy and her smile could light up a room. Fran was the inner strength of the family and fiercely dedicated to bringing up her children in rich traditions and fun like making apple butter over an open fire in the family copper kettle, making the legendary hand-pulled family peanut brittle, and she made every big family gathering a SchwartzFest. She was an organic gardener dedicated to health and fitness decades before it was cool, travelled the world with Beaver, and threw legendary parties on the family farm with friends Howard & Lynda Humphrey. Fran loved State Fair corn dogs, strongly believed in dessert after every dinner, and never met a kitchen gadget she wouldn’t try. For her young children, she sewed awkwardly matching holiday clothes which live on in old family photos, and she worked tirelessly with her sister Barb, to make all 10 grandchildren hand-sewn quilts that they treasure.
She was deeply spiritual and a dedicated volunteer at St. Agnes Church where she started the Book of Remembrance, served as a Eucharistic minister, cleaned the church, prepared countless funeral dinners, and was a member of the Prayer Line. Fran volunteered at St. John’s Hospice for 14 years, made rosaries at St. Joseph’s, and was a member of the St. Louise de Marillac Ladies of Charity.
Surviving are her husband, Frank “Beaver” Schwartz, four daughters, Cathy Schwartz (John Shafer) of Springfield, Paula (Michael) Ryan of Springfield, Jean (Chuck) Weiss of Clinton, MS and Ann Luff (Nick) of Springfield; one son, Ed (Renee) Schwartz of Portland, OR; 10 grandchildren: Shelley Couper, Katie DeMarco (Drew), Emma Shafer, Danny Schwartz, Joey Schwartz, Chris Ryan, Elle Ryan, Lauren Weiss, Andrew Weiss, and Matthew Weiss; and two great grandchildren, Carter and Leo DeMarco; and one sister, Barbara Fuhrwerk of Springfield.
The Schwartz Family would like to thank the staff of Concordia Village, Memorial Hospice, her caregivers, and her family and friends who loved, visited, and cared for her during her illness.
Visitation: 4:00-7:00 pm, Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at St. Agnes Church in Springfield. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 pm.
A second visitation will be Thursday from 9:15 – 9:45 am at St. Agnes Church.
Funeral Mass: 10:00 am, Thursday, January 26, 2017 at St. Agnes Church with Reverend Robert Jallas officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fran Schwartz Scholarship Fund at St. John’s School of Nursing, c/o HSHS St. John’s Foundation, 800 E. Carpenter Street, Springfield, IL 62769-9900.