Frances Barnard, a longtime summer resident of Edgartown and Chappaquiddick, died on Jan. 22 in Gladwyne, Pa., following complications from a stroke. She was 92. Mother, grandmother, a gifted athlete with a nimble mind, Franny was a center pillar in her extended family and an inspiration to all who knew her.
Frances Fleming Barnard was born on July 29, 1920, in Harrisburg, Pa., the daughter of Col. Samuel W. Fleming Jr. and Sarah Hastings Fleming. She was the granddaughter of the late Pennsylvania Gov. Daniel Hastings and his wife Jane Hastings of Belfonte, Pa.
She attended the Seiler School in Harrisburg, Oldfields School in Maryland and Pembridge School of Art in London, England.
Harrisburg was a town that could not contain her joie de vivre, and following a short courtship Franny married her life partner George B. Barnard in January 1942. After a brief honeymoon in the Poconos, George left for the war overseas while Franny stayed in Harrisburg and supported the war effort. At the completion of George’s army career the newlyweds moved to Philadelphia and started a family. While raising three energetic boys, Franny continued to recognize the need to give back. She volunteered as a nurse’s aide at Bryn Mawr Hospital and for Meals on Wheels, and assisted with reading for the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church inner city tutoring program. She was a member of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church for 64 years and actively participated in many of its outreach programs; she served two terms as a church trustee and was a member of the church personnel committee. She also participated in countless benefits and fundraisers for St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital, was an active member of the Garden Club of America and a loyal volunteer for many years at the Philadelphia Flower and the Philadelphia Antique shows.
Always quick with a song or a poem, Franny would regale all at family and friends’ birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. With her energy and enthusiasm for skits, dancing and singing, she was a lively role model for the younger generation.
Franny and George loved the outdoors and traveled extensively, as tourists and as skiers and golfers. An accomplished athlete in many disciplines, Franny was best known for her prowess in tennis and paddle tennis. She was a member of Merion Cricket Club, Gulph Mills Golf Club, the Edgartown Golf Club and Edgartown Yacht Club, where she competed in tournaments and loved showing her grandchildren her name on trophies and plaques.
In the 1920s Franny began summering in Edgartown with her parents and siblings. She loved the Vineyard, and after moving from Edgartown in 1979 to the “other” island, she grew to love Chappaquiddick. Boat picnics, sailing in her Herreshoff, Simba, clamming and playing the Royal Chappaquiddick golf links became her favorite things. The tradition continues today as Franny’s sons, as well as her brother, Samuel W. Fleming 3rd, continue to call Edgartown and Chappaquiddick home. All her children benefitted from George and Franny’s love of the outdoors and still support many Island conservation organizations.
She was predeceased by her husband of 61 years and her sister Barbara Fleming Reily. She is survived by her three sons and their spouses: George (Barney) Barnard Jr. and his wife Pat of Oakland, Calif., Henry (Whits) Barnard and his wife Susie of Boise, Idaho, and Samuel Barnard and his wife Soo of Dedham; her brother Samuel Fleming 3rd and his wife Babs of Piper Shores, Me. and Edgartown; and seven grandchildren, Casey, Sarah, Ted, Lucy, Anna, Nick and Sam Barnard.
A funeral service will be held on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. in the chapel of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pa. A reception will follow. Interment will be private.
Donations may be made in Franny’s memory to The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation (earmarked for Chappaquiddick Open Space), 57 David avenue, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.