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Frances's Story

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TAHLEQUAH – Funeral services for Frances Kay Mankiller-Willingham will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. at the Reed-Culver Chapel. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Reed-Culver. Interment will be held on Wednesday at Fort Gibson National Cemetery at noon. Online condolences for her family can be left at www.reedculver.com. Pallbearers for Frances include Jacob Tiger, Dexter Williamson, Joseph Sanchez, Charlie Robertson, Abraham Bearpaw, and Jason Kyle Tsosie. Honorary pallbearers include Don Mankiller, Jim Mankiller, Robert Mankiller, Aaron Swake, Virgil Brandon Williamson, Jake Mankiller, Kellen Quinton, and Bear Hardbarger. Frances Kay Mankiller-Williamson was born on April 3, 1942, in Tahlequah, the daughter of Charley and Irene (Sitton) Mankiller. The family resided for a while in San Francisco, Calif., therefore, Frances graduated from Balboa High School. She married Virgil Dix Williamson and together they started a family of four children: Virgil Jr., Virlee, Vernon, and Virna. She worked as a telephone operator for Pacific Bell, Petelco, and AT&T. She retired at the age of 45. Not one to stay home, she worked at Stilwell Foods and retired from there also. In 1982, the family relocated back to Oklahoma. Frances was always busy raising her children and keeping up with their many activities. She made it her mission to care for any and every person who needed her assistance. She was strong willed and stubborn. Tell Frances it couldn’t be done, and she went the extra mile to make it happen. She cared deeply and loved people. Frances liked cooking for her family and made the best peach cobblers, frybread, chicken soup, and best of all, her wonderful potato salad, a family favorite. She was an avid reader, crocheted blankets for all of her children and personalized them. She worked for hours creating beautiful beaded artwork, which she shared with many family and friends. She attended powwows with her family, and took great pride in her Native culture. Frances was always there for her family, and adored her time spent with her grandchildren. She married her second husband, Robert Paul Willingham, on Sept. 9, 2001, at Stilwell. They enjoyed great years of happiness, lasting until Robert’s passing in 2010. They enjoyed traveling and making new friends. Whenever loved ones became ill and needed help or assistance, Frances was always the first one to step up. Recently, Frances had cared for her son Virgil in her home, loving and supporting him as he battled illness. Frances passed from this life on Nov. 28, 2015, in Fort Smith, Ark., with her loving family by her side. She was 73 years old. She leaves a void that no one can ever fill in this lifetime. Frances has gone home to join her parents; her second husband and the love of her life, Robert Willingham; her son, Virgil Williamson Jr., who passed only last wee; and her brothers and sisters, Frieda Mankiller-Mullins, Robert Mankiller, Johnny Mankiller, Wilma Mankiller, Richard Mankiller, Linda Mankiller-Sanchez, Vanessa Mankiller, and Bill Mankiller. Those left to cherish the memories she made include her mother, Irene Mankiller of Stilwell; and her children, Virlee Williamson and companion Lonnie Copeland of Rogers, Ark., Virna Williamson of Sallisaw, Vernon Williamson of Rocky Mountain, and Breanna Morton and husband George of Tahlequah. She leaves two brothers, Don Mankiller and wife Lavena of Mulberry, and James Mankiller and wife Lula of Keys. Her legacy lives on in her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Virgil Brandon Williamson of Hayward, Calif., Patti Gerberding and husband Greg of Phoenix, Ariz., Jenny Rose Williamson of Phoenix, Roselyn Kay Scott and Jacob Tiger of Pryor, Dexter Wesley Williamson of Norman, Martha Mary Hardbarger of Stanford, Calif., Shadow Elaine Hardbarger of Sallisaw, Bear Hardbarger of Sallisaw, Ryver Morton of Tahlequah, Ryder Morton of Tahlequah; and her two great-grandchildren, Abilene Rose Tiger and Draven Edward Tiger, both of the home in Pryor; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends and loved ones. Reed-Culver Funeral Home, 117 W. Delaware, 918-456-2551.
Published on  December 2, 2015
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