Frances Margretta Smith Minshall

Apr 9, 1922 - Mar 2, 2014

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Volunteer, dog lover

Frances Margretta Smith Minshall passed away quietly with her family at her side on her beloved Kelleys Island, in Ohio. The Island was bathed in four inches of fresh snow, the air was crystal clear, as she departed to be with her beloved husband William.

Frances was born April 9, 1922, in Lakewood, Ohio, daughter of Werner George Smith and Frances Oster Smith. Frances lived her early life in Lakewood, Ohio, with her parents and her sister Eloise. She was a graduate of Hathaway Brown School and Connecticut College. She was active with both school’s alumni organizations and regularly attended reunions. She served her country during WWII as a WAC volunteer and was stationed in Honolulu, HI and loved to tell stories about that time. She was married in Cleveland with a reception at The Union Club, to William Edwin Minshall Jr. of Shakers Heights, Ohio. The couple had met in Del Ray Beach, Fla., where Frances spent her winters.

Throughout her life Frances was involved in public service. She was active in Ohio Republican politics, assisting her husband William during his 20 years as a Member of Congress, representing the 23rd District of Ohio. Frances moved her husband and young family to Washington, D.C., in 1953. She raised three young boys in Chevy Chase, Md., returning each summer with her boys to her husband’s farm on Kelleys Island. She was an avid angler and boatwoman, skippering her 23 foot Sea Skiff, The Three Captains in and around Western Lake Erie. She traveled frequently to Cleveland to assist her husband’s political campaigns, organizing many women’s luncheons and events in the 23rd District of Ohio. She especially enjoyed attending the luncheons and dinners of the various ethnic groups that existed throughout Ohio’s 23rd district. She was active in The Congressional and Sulgrave Club in Washington DC, where she was a 50 year member. Frances was a docent at the Smithsonian Gems and Mineral Hall, proudly conducting tours for many school groups including her sons’ middle school classes.

Frances specialized in being a grandmother to her 13 grandchildren. Her regular attendance at all of her grandchildren’s graduations and sporting events was a fixture in all of their lives. A very special event for Frances was the Congressional Clubs annual First Lady’s luncheon. Her invitation to the annual luncheon was keenly anticipated by her grandchildren. She loved traveling with her grandchildren. Trips to destinations with grand hotels or places of historical significance were especially interesting to her. Playing cards and croquet on Kelleys Island was her special forte. She was fond of traveling with her grandchildren to CoCo Point Lodge on Barbuda in the West Indies. Her later life revolved around her interest in collecting antiques and silver. She had a special spot in her heart for her Islands; Kelleys Island in Ohio, and Barbuda in the West Indies, where she had many friends.

Frances’ work as a founding member of the Kelleys Island Historical Association, where she volunteered extensively was one of her proudest accomplishments. She was a member of the Zion Methodist Church on Kelleys Island, Ohio.

Her husband William predeceased her. 

She is survived by her three sons, William Edwin Minshall III, of Kelleys Island, Werner Ellis Minshall and his wife Joan of Chevy Chase, Md. and Peter Charles Minshall and his wife Suzanne, of Washington, DC. Grandchildren include, Candice Mulcahy, of Washington, DC, Elizabeth Brooks, of Bethesda, Md,, Laura Tanner of Boston, Mary Minshall of Washington, D.C., Werner E. Minshall Jr., of Los Angeles, Thaddeus M. Minshall, of Washington, D.C., Julia E. Minshall, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., Melissa E. Minshall, of Jackson Hole, Diana C. Minshall, of Washington, D.C., Cathryn M. Scheipers, of Washington, D.C. , Marguerite P. Minshall, of Washington, D.C., Peter C Minshall Jr., of Washington, D.C., and William E. Minshall IV of Kelleys Island. Great grandchildren include Mary, James, and Connie Mulcahy, Lucy Tanner, Harrison and Annie Brooks, and Thaddeus (Mac) Minshall.

Memorial services will take place in late spring at Zion United Methodist Church on Kelleys Island. Burial of her cremains will be in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. Ransom Funeral Home, 610 S. Washington St., Castalia, is in charge of arrangements.

Donations in Frances honor should be made to: The Kelleys Island Historical Association, PO Box 328, Kelleys Island, OH 43438, or to Stein Hospice Services, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870.

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