Mar. 23, 1922 – Jan. 30, 2014
Frances Ellen Wight was born on March 23, 1922, to Harry Reimann and Beatrice Brooker Reimann in Jefferson Township, Madison County, Iowa. She died following an extended illness on January 31, 2014, at the QHC Winterset South Care Center at the age of 91. Frances was the third of six children. She is survived by a brother, Gerald Reimann (Reva) of DeSoto, Iowa, and a sister, Kay Reimann Jamison (Fran) of Waukee, Iowa. She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Mildred Reimann Nesselroad (Dick), Lucille Reimann Swallow (Wayne), and Rose Ellen Reimann Danley (Merlin).
Frances married Bernard Eugene Wight (Barney) on April 24, 1946. Frances and Barney had three children, Cristal Smith (Murray) of Mooresville, North Carolina, Mark Wight (Jennifer) of Springfield, Illinois, and Noel Wight (Jane) of Winterset. Barney, Cristal, Mark and Noel also survive Frances as well as grandchildren Jennifer Baier (Scott) of Mooresville, North Carolina, Janie Stearns (Chad) of Shenandoah, Larkin Boatwright (Kenny) of Winterset, and Gordon Williams of Winterset, great-grandchildren Alexa Koures, Hannah and Alison Stearns, Sienna Nelson and Liam Jones, and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to being a loving wife, mother and homemaker, Frances was a remarkable woman with many talents, as all who knew her well would attest. In her long and full life, she was a member of the United Methodist Church of Winterset and several service clubs and organizations. She was a cosmetologist, businesswoman, artist, craftswoman, naturalist and conservationist. She had extraordinary talents of imagination and creativity that enabled her to envision projects of all kinds, and she had the skills and determination to make these projects reality. To whatever she turned her attention, she set the highest standards and achieved them.
Two accomplishments that illustrate her many talents and abilities are the artistry and craftsmanship she brought to the design and weaving of baskets and the imagination and creativity it took to develop a family nature retreat on her acreage southwest of Winterset. Once she decided to undertake basket-making, she and Barney traveled from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Whidbey Island, Washington and from North Carolina and Kentucky to northern Minnesota so she could learn from Native Americans and others how to gather or obtain the necessary materials and weave them into the particular style of basketry she was pursuing at the time. As she became more accomplished, she used her skills and knowledge of natural materials to make her own creations and to teach others the things she had learned. On her acreage and with the help of others both local and from afar, she developed a nature retreat that was the site of much enjoyment for herself, her family and many friends. It included a small cabin, a restored prairie with native grasses and flowers, bluebird houses, walnut and ash groves, and a small pond. She tended it with loving care and, no matter the season, could identify every plant growing there and whether it had medicinal uses for Native Americans and settlers.
True to her independent and private nature, Frances requested that there be no funeral. She will be cremated followed by a Celebration of Life Gathering with her family present at the First United Methodist Church on Friday, February 7, from 10 AM to noon. However, anyone wishing to recognize her passing with a memorial is invited to make a donation in her name to the Winterset Art Center, the Madison County Foundation for Environmental Education (MCFEE), the Madison County Historical Society, or Middle River Hospice. Her family misses her dearly already and is certain the world is a poorer place for her passing.Information provided by: McCalley-Collins Funeral Home 505 East Court Avenue Winterset, IA 50273 515.462.1663 mccalleyfuneralhome.com