Mary's Story

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Mary Frances Swaney, of Lake Ann, formerly of Royal Oak, passed peacefully April 26, 2017 with family and friends by her side. She was 91 years young.
"Fran" was born Jan. 30, 1926 to Joseph Wade Cannon and Zadie Marie Cox in Mount Olive, North Carolina. With her parents and nine siblings, a young Mary Frances lived a farming life of sharecropping tobacco and cotton. At 18, upon graduating from high school, she left behind a career opportunity at the Mount Olive Pickle Company and bravely boarded a train to Washington, D.C. to aid in the war effort.
In Washington she met naval officer, Aubrey Swaney. After the war was won they married and moved to Minnesota, because, what better place to start a family? She was a stay-at-home mom during a time when moms could do that. She excelled at it. Sewing her children's clothes, knitting sweaters and mitten, canning food, growing roses and making quilts - oh, those incredible quilts - you probably have one or wish you did.
Fran's front porch was always open to anyone for counseling (whether you needed it or not), a good laugh or speculation on who was up to what. It was all served up with an ice filled glass of sweet tea and Fran's impetuous, southern-girl smile. What a place to be on a summer's night.
In 2001 Fran and Aubrey moved to Long Lake and soon became a fixture in that little town. Shortly before she passed she expressed how much she loved her life, her friends, her home, her birds, going to "gigs" and her church here in Northern Michigan. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who made her feel that way - so at home ... and so loved.
Fran is survived by her children, Steve, of Lake Ann, Mike (Becky Weeks), of Copper Harbor, and Susan (Chris) Skellenger, of Honor. Also surviving are her sisters in North Carolina; granddaughter, Lindsy and her special family, Carolyn, Ryan, Ally and Jim. She is also survived by the loving stories and "Fran-isms" that will surely endure as long as the rest of us do.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, May 13, at the Lake Ann United Methodist Church. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. with services at 2 p.m. Lunch will follow.
Donations may be made to her favorite charity, Buckets of Rain, PO Box 251, Empire, MI 49630; or her favorite church, Lake Ann United Methodist, 6583 First St., Lake Ann, MI 49650.
Please offer your condolences and memories with Fran's family on her tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on May 6, 2017
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