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A love of books led Frances Cain Trumpower to a career in education

January 26, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back -- through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others -- at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Frances Cain Trumpower, who died Jan. 13 at the age of 91. Her obituary was published in the Jan. 15 edition of The Herald-Mail.

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- As a child growing up in rural Washington County, Frances Cain (Trumpower) often could be found up a tree ... reading a book.

"She would read anything she could get her hands on, especially history," said Ida Alton, her youngest daughter.

That thirst for knowledge and love of learning lured her from a young age to hopes of a career teaching children, and in a way, Frances achieved that goal.

Ida said her grandfather told Frances that he would send her to college so she could become a teacher. But once Frances laid eyes on Harris Trumpower, her life took a dramatic change of course.

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"Mom told us she saw our father from a distance in Hancock and said that was the man she was going to marry," daughter Carolyn Everitts said.

Frances did marry him, but she didn't abandon her dreams. She earned her GED, then studied beyond that, amassing advance credits over the years while raising her four children.

Frances worked as an aide with children at Potomac Heights, Robinwood Early Childhood Center and Clear Spring Elementary School during her employment with Washington County Public Schools.

For years after her retirement, Frances continued to mentor youngsters.

Frances also did some traveling.

"She toured the Holy Land in 1977," said Carolyn, who accompanied her on that trip.

When they returned home, Frances gave slide presentations about the trip at churches.

Never idle, Frances began painting in her later years. The four siblings divided her 38 pieces of art between them.

"She certainly left us a legacy," Carolyn said. Not so much of what she said, but of the example she set for her children in the life she led.

The oldest of Frances' children, Parcenia, said she was named after a character in a novel that her mother had read.

"I never left home," Parcenia said. "They took care of me and I took care of them."

Frances' only son, Denver, said he never remembered hearing his parents argue. His memories of childhood centered around his mother's music and cooking.

"I remember going out in the woods with my dad to get a Christmas tree," Denver said. As they approached the house, they noticed all of the windows were steamed up from the inside -- she was baking cherry pies.

The family would gather around the heating vent in the middle of the living room floor and sing until it was bedtime.

"I played the piano by ear," Carolyn said. "We would all sing harmony, something mom taught us to do."

Carolyn, Denver and his wife, Carol, were in a singing group called The Trumpowers.

"I really enjoyed those years," Carol said.

Carolyn also sang for many years with a group called The Morning Star Singers. Don Sneckenberger, a member of that group, sang at Frances' funeral service.

Her health failing, Frances received care for two years at home, then the past three years at Ravenwood Lutheran Village in Hagerstown.

"We went every day," Ida said.

She fed her mother dinner each night and got her ready for bed. Her other three siblings took turns sharing the lunch shift each day with their mother.

"The Ravenwood people were wonderful to our mother and to us, but we wanted to do these things for her," Ida said.

Denver said they all promised their mother that they would take care of her and they kept that promise. Frances died Jan. 13 at the age of 91.

At Frances' Jan. 17 funeral, a bagpiper played because she loved special touches such as that in her life.

"We also released a white dove, which circled and then flew away as the snow was gently falling," Carolyn said.

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