She was active in the community through her work with more than 20 organizations, including Sangamon County Historical Society, Brinkerhoff Home Auxiliary, Lincoln Library board and Catholic Daughters of America. For 16 years she volunteered as a tour guide at the Old State Capitol, enjoying her time dressing in period garb.
As for why Aunt Mary Fran was special to me, she showed me that a woman could be strong, educated and get what she wanted out of life. I revel in the fact that she had visited all seven continents! She taught me words in French, showed me how to use chopsticks and took me on historical trips – even to Hawaii. In her own way, she showed me that the world was not some place to be afraid of, but to be explored and celebrated.
Through showing me treasures from my own family and from Springfield, Aunt Mary Fran taught me the value of family and how to be proud of who I am and where I am from. She will be greatly missed.