Frances Ruth KingMay 30, 1924 ~ August 8, 2017 (age 93)
Frances Ruth King was 93 years of age and living in Harlingen, Texas when she died on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at Valley Baptist Hospital of complications of advanced age. She was born on May 30, 1924 in Memphis, Tennessee and had one younger brother. Growing up in Harlingen, Texas, Fran developed her interests in music, and athletics. She excelled in playing the piano, performed with her High School drama club, and enjoyed playing tennis doubles with the tennis club.
After High School graduation, Fran earned an Associate degree from Brownsville Junior College in 1943. Building on her interest in performing, Fran found employment with a local CBS radio station as a staff announcer, where she reported news, planned and broadcast daily music programs, as well as wrote and delivered thirty second commercial ads. This inspired Fran to compete along with 3,000 other applicants across the country for a place in a broadcast communications course at Northwestern University, Chicago. As one of one hundred selected applicants, Fran departed for Chicago, Illinois, at the age of twenty-one. She supported herself with employment as a secretary at ABC station WENR and was a member of the American Association of Radio artists and the American Guild of Variety Artists. She enjoyed being paid for parts she played in numerous live radio / TV plays with station WGN, hosted by the noted radio star, Jim Ameche. Fran also enjoyed an active social life in Chicago, making friendly or professional acquaintances with many notable performers. These included Fran Allison (of NBC’s Kukla, Fran, and Ollie of puppet show fame), Martha Scott, and Dick York (Darren #1 in the popular 1960’s and 1970’s TV situation comedy “Bewitched”). While in Chicago, Fran extended her love of piano by teaching herself to play the accordion, and she continued her athletic interests by developing her golf game. In 1953, when Fran went home for Christmas, she was lured to join her brother and sister-in-law on their return to their home in California. Fran then worked for General Electric Carboloy in California until she transferred to Dallas, Texas in 1959 to work for Atlantic Richfield. She continued to work there until retiring in 1985.
Fran returned to Harlingen, Texas and was her Mother’s primary caregiver in her Mother’s later years. Fran remained in the family home until shortly before her hospital admission. She enjoyed the special relationship with her own primary caregiver, Paulina Garza Rodriguez and appreciated her long- time friend and home health Nurse Cecelia Hernandez, and her daughter Priscilla. She also enjoyed many other friendships and acquaintances, most especially Marshall Graham. In her late years, Fran was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan and professional tennis fan, and enjoyed the antics of her five special cats.
Fran is survived by three nieces: Claudia Ledbetter (husband, Mike), Robin Key (husband, David), and Cid Ransom. She is also survived by Great Nieces and Nephews: Rob and Andy Ledbetter, Harrison Key, Hayden Johnson, Joey Ransom, and Russell Ransom. In addition, she is survived by two Great Great nieces: Lucia Prassas and Willa Jane Ransom. Fran was preceded in death by her Mother and Father (Maye and Thomas King) and by her brother William Robert King and his wife Betty Lou King.
A graveside service for Fran will be conducted at Mont Meta Memorial Park at 9:30, on Saturday, 12 August, 2017, for family. A public memorial service will follow at First Baptist Church, Harlingen, Texas, with a time of fellowship after the service. Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements and is located 710 Ed Carey Drive, Harlingen, Texas, telephone number (956) 423-3636.