The life of Mary Ellen (McClurg) Francis will be celebrated at 2:00 graveside at Oak Haven Memorial Gardens on Monday April 20. Mary Ellen went home on April 13, 2020.
She was born to Walter and Anna (Gardner) McClurg on November 3, 1933 in Claremore, OK. She spent most of her life in the Claremore area. However, because of the Dust Bowl the family moved out to California to find work.
Upon returning to Oklahoma, Walter started a dairy. Mary Ellen along with Thomas, Sue and Libby all had the joy of experiencing dairy farm work.
Mary Ellen attended both Sageeyah and Sequoyah schools, graduating from Sequoyah in 1952. While in school Mary enjoyed playing basketball and developed a hook shot that often led to defenders getting in foul trouble and many times they would foul out. She was also part of the school choir and played the piano.
After graduating, Mary Ellen left the farm and worked as an operator for Southwestern Bell in Claremore. While living in town, Mary Ellen attended Memorial Heights Baptist Church. It was here that she realized that she needed a Savior and made her profession of faith in Jesus Christ public and was baptized there.
On November 21, 1961 Mary Ellen and Gene Francis were married in a private ceremony officiated by Brother John Bishop at Sequoyah Baptist church. It would be here that she would faithfully attend and serve the Lord and others until she was physically no longer able to. Three sons, Doug, Tim and Brad were blessed by their marriage. Mary Ellen’s desire was for her sons to know and follow the Lord.
Mary Ellen left the phone company in order to raise the boys. She loved glassware and antiques, however with three curious and ornery young boys this made things rather challenging. Nevertheless with the help of her parents and brother, she opened up a small glassware shop called the Ark in town. Although she loved dealing in glassware and antiques, she became a janitor at Sequoyah Schools to help make ends meet. But as fate would have it, Southwestern Bell came calling and wanted her to come back to work for them but she would still keep an eye out for good deals. She would remain an operator until her retirement in 1988 after 25 years of service from AT&T.
Mary Ellen had a heart to serve others. She once had aspirations on becoming a nurse but never officially became one. However, she did not let this stop her from taking care of others. After her retirement from AT&T her caregiver talents were called upon. She was a caregiver to her sister-in-law Wilma Francis, a cancer patient. She also honored her parents by helping with the care of Walter who was a long time stroke patient and Anna in her later years. Friends Sammy Wood and Ruth Briscoe were also under her care. She was always ready and willing to help others, whether they were family or not.
Mary Ellen was also a gifted writer. Through her writing she expressed how grateful she was to the Lord for His grace and mercy. Though she was not immune from the trials of this life, especially raising three boys, her foundation in the Lord was solid, sure and is what sustained her through it all.
Mary Ellen was generous. While she lived on her own she would tell Martha Sue and Libby to go pick out a dress and she would pay for it. For her boys she would always find a way to provide, even though there was not a lot of extra money for things. She would often spoil her grandchildren, even though she could not always do the things grandparents get to do. But no doubt she dearly loved her grandchildren!
She had a life well lived despite the challenges towards the end. All things are new for Mary Ellen now solely because of what Jesus Christ has done for her. We rejoice in this!
Mary Ellen is survived by her three sons and their families. Doug and April Francis of Owasso, OK, Tim and Cindy Francis of Claremore, OK and Brad and Kimberlee Francis of Claremore, OK. Four grandchildren, Emma and Luke Francis and Brady and Kason Francis. Sisters Martha Sue Montgomery of Claremore, OK and Elizabeth (Libby) McAdams of Oklahoma City, OK and sister-in-law Shirley McClurg of Claremore, OK. Nieces and nephews and numerous extended family.
Mary Ellen is preceded in death by her husband Gene, parents Walter and Anna McClurg and brother Thomas McClurg.
Visitation will be held from 3:00PM-5:00PM, Sunday, April 19 2020 at Rice Funeral Service in Claremore, Oklahoma.
We are asking all visitors to help us abide by the "ten person at a time rule". Please be at least six feet away from other visitors at all times. You may have to wait a few minutes prior to entering, if there are already ten persons, including funeral home staff. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.
If you are unable to attend, we can sign the guest book for you.
The Celebration of Life will be live streamed on our Facebook page on Monday, April 20, 2020. The link will be added the day of the service.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you make a donation in Mary's honor to Meals on Wheels.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Francis, please visit our floral store.