Frances Angeline (Gray) Strait passed from this life at 10:10 P.M. on Saturday, September 7, 2019, at Blair Ridge Health Campus in Peru, Indiana. She was 98 years old.
Frances was born on August 30, 1921, to Otto Gray and Sylvia (West) Gray in Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoyed her life in Cleveland. Always a lover of learning, she immersed herself in many of the academic and cultural activities the big city had to offer, all the while helping her parents run the family pharmacy. Young Frances also spent her summers on the West family farm near Lynchburg, Ohio. She enjoyed being involved in rural life with her grandparents and her many relatives, especially her cousins. She carried the lessons she learned on the farm with her throughout her life.
Frances attended college at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature. She later earned a Master’s degree from U. of M. She was a winner of the prestigious Hopwood Award for original poetry, in 1941. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.
Frances met Jack C. Strait while attending college. They were married on Feb. 19, 1943, at Mathers Army Air Field in Sacramento, California. The marriage lasted 62 years, until Jack died in 2005.
While Jack served as an Army flight instructor during WWII, Frances worked as a volunteer for the Red Cross, serving returning casualties and their families. Following the War, they moved to Jack’s home town of Pontiac, Michigan, where Fran began her career as an educator. She taught Jr. High and High School English and Speech in Pontiac. Later she moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and taught at both Andover and Lahser High Schools. She was also the drama coach at both schools and produced many wonderful plays and musicals with her students. Her career in the classroom spanned 42 years.
Frances is survived by three children: Ann Larimer (Edwin) of Peru, Indiana, William Strait (Dr. Jessica Rickert) of Interlochen, Michigan, and Constance Strait of River Forest, Illinois. One daughter, Laura Strait, preceded her in death. Frances had 7 grandchildren: Nathan Larimer, Angeline Larimer, Emily Larimer, Carole Strait Franklin, Thomas Strait, Brandon Strait, and Ryan Monaghan. 16 great-grandchildren also survive her.
Frances had many varied interests. Her favorite life-long hobby was reading. She was a member of the Garden Club, Tuesday Musicale and Wednesday Dancing Club in Pontiac. She served as a Stephen Minister. She enjoyed singing in the choirs at the two churches where she was a member during her life; First Presbyterian of Pontiac, and Valley Presbyterian in Green Valley, AZ. She also attended the Community Reform Church of Ferrysburg, Mi. She was honored to be able to sing in Carnegie Hall with the Valley Presbyterian Choir when she was 86 years old. She also was a gourmet cook, a Master Gardener, a lover of classical opera, Shakespeare plays, and playing Bridge with her oldest and dearest friends. She was an enthusiastic fan of Golden Retrievers. After retirement, she and Jack moved to their beloved lake cottage at Big Blue Lake, in Whitehall, Michigan. They became “snow-birds” and spent their winters in Green Valley, Az. These homes were very special to her and she completely embraced both life on the lake and life in the desert. She welcomed family and friends to spend vacations with her, and she was always the gracious hostess and tour guide.
Frances will be buried in White Chapel Cemetery, in Troy, Michigan. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at White Chapel on Monday, October 7, 2019, at 1:00 P.M. Relatives and friends are welcome to come and greet the family one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Flowers-Leedy Funeral Home. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook at www.FlowersLeedyAllen.com.