Visitation and funeral services for Frances Louise Walker Stephens, 100, will be held Friday, September 4th, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Rose-Neath Southside Chapel. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Interment to follow at Forest Park West Cemetery.
Frances was born on July 18, 1920 to Ossie F. and Maude E. Walker in Cotton Valley, LA and went to her eternal home on August 30, 2020 in Shreveport, LA.
Frances was the third of eight children and affectionately remembered for helping raise her younger siblings. She served as a sidekick to her mother in cooking, farming, and home duties. During the exceptionally cold winter of 1929, she carried her twin baby siblings, Bernice and Burnis (Poo) for most of the winter so they wouldn’t be on the cold wood cabin floor. Being part of a large, loving, and Christian family was one of her greatest prides; she shared fond memories of sitting on the porch singing hymns and helping her mother in the garden.
After graduating from Cotton Valley High School, she went on to become a proud alumni of Louisiana Tech University where she received a teaching degree and made friends that remained close and traveled together for many years thereafter.
With her older brother Frank away serving in WWII, Frances joined the U.S. Navy WAVES program, and learned weather forecasting. Of nearly 6,000 U.S. Military officers trained in weather forecasting during WWII, there were only about 100 women. She humorously recalled that she wanted to learn air traffic controlling, but her southern accent was not compatible.
Military service fostered her deep love of travel. Frances was so patriotic and appreciative of the beauty of her country, and she continued traveling for many years with close friends, siblings, and tour groups.
Frances married the love of her life, Elmer M. “Steve” Stephens on October 14, 1950. They settled in Shreveport, LA, and Steve, a skilled carpenter and builder, built the home that she lived in from 1952 until her passing. Her house served as a gathering place and loving home to 3 generations of family, friends, and neighbors, hosting countless Thanksgiving football games in the yard. She often expressed love and gratitude for her wonderful neighbors, many that lived on the block for decades, and she reminisced often about eating watermelon in the yard and sharing many laughs with these lifelong friends.
Steve and Frances had 2 children, Lewis and Cindy. They were her world, and she imparted to them so many values including hard work, gratitude, and the love of nature and fishing shared with her father Ossie and brother Poo. She encouraged Lewis to rent an apartment on Cross Lake after college, and made quick friends with the owner so her and Cindy could go fish off the pier anytime.
Frances taught third grade at Judson Elementary in Shreveport, she cherished children, and carried the love of teaching into her church life at Lakeshore Baptist Church and later Willow Point Baptist Church. After years of faithful attendance, illness made it difficult for her to attend church, but she was so grateful for literature sent and monthly visits from church friends Ann and Louise.
After retirement, Frances served many years as a volunteer at P&S Hospital in Shreveport, and participated with Cindy in activities through CBARC and special adult church groups. With the arrival of 2 grandchildren, Meg and Grey, she became the most loving Grandmother imaginable. Her house quickly became home to them, and her wonderful food and love of cooking inspired the same passion in Meg. In her final years, Grey was by her side daily, and diligently attended to her every need.
Frances was a beloved aunt to 14 nieces and nephews. The closeness shared with her siblings and their children throughout her life was a true gift from God. Her sisters Edna Mae and Bernice were her best friends, and they shared many adventures in travel with brothers Frank, Poo, Don, and their families.
Frances was told by many that her kind spirit and strength would carry her to be 100 years old. She showed incredible grace and resilience after the tragic and untimely losses of her brother Clyde in WWII, husband Steve in 1972, and son Lewis in 2015. Though preceded in death by her parents, husband, 6 siblings, both children, and many friends, she was the storyteller that kept their memories alive. Anyone that spent time with Frances likely shared a cup of coffee, one of her famous tea cakes, and many stories.
Frances is survived by sister Bernice and husband Hubert Andrews of Smyrna, GA, Sisters-in-law Martha Walker of Jena, LA and Sara Lynn Walker of Tempe, AZ, granddaughter Meg and husband Chris Heckendorn of Austin, TX, grandson Grey Stephens of Shreveport, LA, neighborhood family including Judy Doucet, Janet Shelton, Martha & Luther Barnes, and Mrs. Beryl Futch, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, and their families.
The family would like to express gratitude to the caregivers that helped Frances in recent years with special thanks to Ruby Robbins and Tamiko Ware. Ruby has been an unbelievable source of friendship, love, and support to Frances and our family.
Memorials can be made to The Arc of Caddo Bossier, Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, and Willow Point Baptist Church.
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