Wooden - Frances - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Wooden - Frances

Source:                  Zach, Karen Bazzani. Crawfordsville: Athens of Indiana. Charleston,                  SC: Arcadia, 2003 p 46 (Lincoln School)

- George W. Thompson, principal, told his students opportunities were never better for the African American whose conduct is above reproach and who proves himself to his community. Thus was the case for one well-loved woman, Frances Wooden. John Bowerman stated: "The greatness and strength of any community is determined by the moral attributes of those who make up the land in which we live ... unsung heroes transform the lives of the youth. In Crawfordsville Frances was one of those heroes, and increasingly, with the passing of time, her life becomes a profile of inspiration. For several years, her mother, Fanny, was in charge of the kitchen at the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity at Wabash College and Frances' father, Elijah worked odd jobs. The Wooden family lived on Beech Street, Crawfordsville. A 1935 grad of CHS, Frances loved music. It became her solace, especially after developing polio. Her effort to receive that coveted diploma was a major task with her disability. Per religion, she read her Bible daily. Under her graduation picture was the legend, "Great works are performed by perseverance." She even found a job working for the Welfare Department at the old YMCA building at the corner of Pike & Green. Her favorite Bible passage red, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God." The children did indeed come and Rita Hamm, longtime director of the Park & Rec Department said Frances was a pioneer. She organized cooking & sewing classes for mothers, as well as for youngsters themselves. She taught the Northside children to be proud of their area and to keep it clean. Youngsters who were too poor to buy needed supplies to make crafts were never excluded. Retiring Dec 30, 1982, she had worked with children more than 35 years. On June 7, 1985, Mayor Glenn Knecht headed a Frances Wooden Day appropriately held in the Northside Rec center where she had spent so many years with her beloved children. It wasn't just the mayor and the Crawfordsville folks who thought she deserved recognition; however, as Gov Robert Orr recognized her with a Special Appreciation award for her many years of dedication as a public employee. "She felt the hand of her Precious Lord leading her home Jan 20, 1987."
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