Obituary of Frances E. Caldwell
Frances Elizabeth Ellingsworth Caldwell of Newton passed away quietly on March 16, 2019 at the age of 99. Frances was a long time legal secretary and office manager, homemaker and community volunteer.
Born March 15, 1920, Frances grew up on a Wayne County farm in the depths of the Great Depression. As a teenager, she rode her pony Bonnie to country school. Bonnie was well known in the area as she would allow Frances’ girlfriends to ride her, but would buck off any boy who attempted to do so.
Whenever her family complained about the summer heat, she would tell them it was nothing compared to the drought years of ‘34 and ’36 when her father had to retrieve a barrel of water from the Corydon reservoir every day because their well had run dry. These years still hold the record for heat on many summer days.
In 1938 Fran was elected Iowa’s State Girl’s 4-H President. She attended the National 4-H Convention in Chicago, Illinois. In high school she met a young boy, Gilbert R. Caldwell. They would eventually marry on June 6,1941 and spend 57 years as husband and wife.
Many of her volunteer activities centered around The United Presbyterian Church. As members of the young marrieds group (Merryweds) Gil and Fran helped with chicken dinners to raise money for the building of the “new” church. As a leader in the church, she was one of the first women in the Presbytery to attend the National General Assembly as a Commissioner.
Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and Friend, she always greeted everyone with a beautiful smile and, towards the end, the words “and so…”
She is survived by her children and their spouses Gilbert and Jeanne Caldwell III, Randal and Margaret Caldwell, grandchildren Troy and Lisa Gould, Jonna and Greg Wortmann, Kyle and Zitong Yin Caldwell, Elizabeth and Alec Meredith, Robert and Miranda Caldwell and 11 great grandchildren (with one on the way); as well as nieces Claudia Brierre and Louise Ellingsworth. She was predeceased by her parents, Arthur and Helen (Kirk) Ellingsworth; daughter Janice S. (Caldwell) Gould, brother Huber Ellingsworth, niece Denise Ellingsworth, and her husband and closest friend Gilbert R. Caldwell.
Frances passed as she had lived: with grace and dignity, faith, love and beauty.
Memorial services for Frances will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 13th at the United Presbyterian Church in Newton. The family will greet friends following the service during a coffee time. Memorials may be designated to the United Presbyterian Church, Park Centre Scholarship Fund or the Iowa 4-H Foundation and may be left at the church or at Pence ~ Reese Funeral Home.