FRANCES L. HARRYMAN On August 5, 2014, Frances LaVaughn Harryman, 92, was summoned home by her Heavenly Father to claim her inheritance as a child of the King. She was born in Alicia, Arkansas, in the spring of 1922, but she and her parents, Raymond and Eva Boggs, moved to Kansas City, Missouri, when Frances was one year old. She grew up in midtown, attending Hyde Park (Longan) Grade School and Westport High School. This close-knit community was like a small town, where Frances formed friendships that would last a lifetime. Some of these friends eventually became part of her extended family when she married into the Harryman clan of...
FRANCES L. HARRYMAN
On August 5, 2014, Frances LaVaughn Harryman, 92, was summoned home by her Heavenly Father to claim her inheritance as a child of the King. She was born in Alicia, Arkansas, in the spring of 1922, but she and her parents, Raymond and Eva Boggs, moved to Kansas City, Missouri, when Frances was one year old. She grew up in midtown, attending Hyde Park (Longan) Grade School and Westport High School. This close-knit community was like a small town, where Frances formed friendships that would last a lifetime. Some of these friends eventually became part of her extended family when she married into the Harryman clan of nine children. In 1940 W D Harryman (Bill) saw Frances for the first time when he was out with mutual friends. He was so struck by her beauty that he immediately informed them that this was the girl he was going to marry. That promise was fulfilled in the spring of 1941. Becoming part of the Harryman family was the second most important event in her life to that point. Number one was accepting Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at Tabernacle Baptist Church, a decision that would enable her to reflect Christ's love for the rest of her life.
Some years ago, a Christian author wrote a description of a woman that fit Frances perfectly. "I couldn't help but watch her as we sat in the service together that Sunday morning . . . Her white hair so neatly coiffured, her hands resting on her open Bible, her smile so beautifully tranquil. When the hymn was announced, she sang with a glowing smile. Occasionally during the message she nodded her head in agreement. 0 Lord, what peace she portrays. After the service I spoke to her. 'You are an inspiration, my dear. I hope I may sit with you again.' She thanked me profusely. Then she added with shining joy, 'Isn't it wonderful to know Jesus? I mean--really know Him.' In that instant, dear God, I knew the secret of her radiance."
And that really was why everyone was drawn to Frances, why perfect strangers with whom she would strike up conversations felt as if they were talking to a good friend, why many of the friendships she valued so highly had been retained for over 80 years. Her compass-ionate, self-effacing character and her sweet, joyous spirit kept her friends close to the very last. And even then she was still making new friends of a younger generation who could see what all those who had known her and loved her for decades had been drawn to from their first meeting.
During these last years, the reality that she could not remember a loved one's inadvertent slight for very long really mirrored the way she had approached hurt feelings her entire life--purposely forgiving and forgetting, out of love. Once, many years earlier, an acquaintance hurt her feelings very badly. Afterward, she came home, shed a few tears, and then spent the next hour asking the Lord to remove all resentment from her heart and replace it with forgiveness; and He did. Just as He does when we ask for forgiveness, it was as if the incident had never happened. Frances believed that there is no problem that you cannot find an answer to through prayer and the reading of God's Word. But she also knew that the answer is sometimes "No," as in the case of her beloved daughter Debbie, who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 46 after an eighteen-month struggle to defeat it. Throughout the ordeal, Frances was the spiritual rock on which her family depended. She knew there was a reason for Debbie's death, even though she and her family had great difficulty coping with the loss. Frances' faith in the love and grace of God and in the atoning sacrifice of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ got her through this tragedy, just as it had gotten her through the childhood disease that had threatened the life of her son Jeff and the infection that had put her husband Bill on the critical list in the 1950's. It also saw her through her own victorious battles with lupus erythematosus and breast cancer. Throughout all of this, her faith never wavered, for she knew that we are merely sojourners on this earth.
Frances did so many things extraordinarily well, especially cook-ing. When someone would mention going out to eat, Bill would always reply, "Why should we go to a restaurant when we have the best cook in town here?" And every meal was carefully planned, with all the food groups, color balance, and a beautiful table setting. She would say, "Food that looks good always tastes better." When her children were in high school, her homemade pizza enticed their friends to their house; but they would stay because Frances and Bill made it feel like home to them.
She was also an avid and talented quitter, lovingly creating a diverse array of beautiful quilts for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And like all grandmas, she enjoyed getting together and doing things with her grandchildren's families, as well as doing things for them. She loved them so much and was so proud of them. She especially liked to gather the family together on holidays and special occasions. These were the times when the interior decorator side of her would fully appear, when her home would be filled with beautiful creations to mark the occasion.
Above all, Frances loved the people in her life and all the activities that she enjoyed with them. Besides her family, she loved being with all of her Christian friends at Michigan Avenue Baptist Church and, later, Loma Vista Baptist Church, especially those in her Sunday school class. She filled her life with: taking wonderful cross-country trips with Bill and with her lifelong friend and sister-in-law Katy Harryman and her husband Don; going mother and daughter shopping with Debbie; spending quality time with her good friend Evelyn Bryant; finding the exact house that she had wished for; viewing God's artistry from her yard swing; reading the Bible at her old oak table; working at Safety Federal Savings; attending Harryman family gatherings at the homes of the Hackleys and the Waldens; taking trips to the Ozarks with the Richardsons; getting together with her nephews and their wives--LeRoy and Dee, and Willard and Dorothy Harryman; watching old movies with her sister-in-law Jeanne Harryman; playing canasta and pinochle; and when she was young, dancing, especially at the Pla-Mor ballroom. Incredibly, she was still able to do a passable tap dance to The Sidewalks of New York even into her nineties.
Right now, all of those who loved her so much on this earth are wistfully looking heavenward with a mixture of sadness and joy, mourn-ing and envy, for our loss is her gain. She has been reunited with her Bill and her Debbie in the presence of her Heavenly Father and her Savior. When Frances' children were young, she would stand in the doorway when she saw them off to school. Now she stands in a more exalted doorway, probably saying the same words that she said so many times over 60 years ago. "I love you. I'll see you when you get home."
She is survived by her son Jeff and three grandsons and their families: Eric and Jennie Fidler, and Sophie and Lexi; Brian and Stephanie Fidler, and Andrew and Kenzy; Scott and Angela Fidler, and Noah and Addisyn.
A memorial service will be held at Loma Vista Baptist Church, 8622 Blue Ridge Blvd., K.C., Mo., at 10AM on Friday, August 8, preceded by visitation at 9AM. Interment will be at Newcomer's--Floral Hills, Gregory and Blue Ridge. K. C., Mo.