Monday, June 13, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Holland Home Fulton Manor Chapel
1450 East Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Friends may visit with her family from 10 AM until the time of the service.
Life Story / Obituary
For Fran Yankey, life was about family and her abiding faith. A devoted wife and mother, she dedicated herself to those entrusted to her care, and with ways all her own, Fran was loving and supportive. That’s not to say she didn’t have her share of opinions, and she easily voiced them, as well! Fran, although she will be dearly missed, leaves much to be remembered in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.
With a sense of exhilaration never before seen, the Roaring Twenties ushered in an entirely new way of thinking in the U.S. By 1921, prosperity and good fortune filled the air while jazz was all the rage. Baseball was America’s favorite pastime, and the founding of the Chrysler Corporation was the shape of things to come for the auto industry. Yet in the bustling city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the birth of Frances Jane on August 3, 1921, filled the hearts of her parents, William and Anna (Van Hekken) McAlary with joy.
Frances was just one of eventually nine children in the McAlary home and as a young girl, she was soon affectionately known as “Fran.” With already a large family to support, the days of the Great Depression created financial hardship for all, and Fran’s family was no exception. She attended the local schools and enjoyed many friendships throughout her youth with neighborhood and school friends alike.
Life as Fran knew it turned in an exciting new direction when she met a young man by the name of Harry Yankey while roller skating with friends. Quite smitten from the start, they dated for about one and a half years before sharing vows of marriage on June 25, 1942, while attending a family function in Indiana. As World War II raged on overseas, it was only several months after getting married when Fran’s beloved Harry left to serve with the U.S. Navy. It was also during this time when Fran soon learned she was carrying their very first child.
After nine long months without Harry by her side and then some, Fran traveled to California when Harry returned to the states. It was during this treasured visit when Fran introduced their young son, David to his father for the first time. Following Harry’s honorable discharge from the service, he returned to Grand Rapids to be with Fran and their son, beginning a new and exciting start in their lives.
Before long, Fran and Harry welcomed the birth of their little girl, Sherry into their arms. They began raising their family in a house on Eastern Avenue, and then spent some time on Whiting St. SE, but the majority of their time was spent in their home on Bowne NE, which provided numerous memories for their family. Fran made a good home for Harry and the kids, and as a meticulous housekeeper, she kept their home very clean and well organized. Fran was also a wonderful cook making many family favorites through the years. Her maple fudge was simply the best, and her delicious pea and potato soups were most appreciated during the cold Michigan winters. Like many women of her generation, Fran frequently canned and kept her pantry full of canned pickles and chili sauce.
As a longtime member of Berean Baptist Church, Fran raised her family in faith. Over the years she and Harry were quite involved at church, having served in many capacities. Their church family was also a major part of their lives together socially. Being with their dear church friends found them sharing the same interests along with feeding them spiritually.
During the summer months, memorable times were shared and enjoyed by their family renting cottages at nearby lakes throughout Michigan. These vacations were filled with needed relaxation as well as fun times for all. For a time, Fran also worked outside the home as a clerk at Wurzburg’s and Herpolsheimer’s department stores in downtown Grand Rapids. In her free time, Fran enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint. Quite talented in this area, she made many items through the years, often giving them as gifts, as a kind gesture or for a church function.
In later years, while Fran and Harry made a few trips to visit family, they more often than not preferred staying near home. Fran often helped with her grandchildren when they were young, and she loved spending time with them. When Harry passed away in 2006, this difficult time in Fran’s life was made easier with the comfort she found in her faith. Shortly after his death, Fran began living at Holland Home where she made many new friends and enjoyed the activities offered there.
Fran Yankey knew how to speak her mind and she never hesitated in doing so. And for those who knew her best, her opinions were clearly stated! Even so, Fran was a loving and dedicated wife and mother. Throughout her long life, Fran witnessed many changes come and go in the world around her, but with faith as her ever-present guide and her Lord as her constant companion, Fran pressed on. Gone but never to be forgotten, Fran will be dearly missed.
Frances Jane Yankey, age 94 of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord on June 10, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Harry Yankey. Fran is survived by her son, David (Jane) Yankey of Gilroy CA; daughter, Sherry Werdon of Lowell; grandchildren Timothy (Joy) Yankey, Karen (Jim) Dequine, Paul (Deanne) Yankey, Jim VerWys, Todd VerWys, Chad (Branda) Werdon, Scott (Charlene) Werdon; 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; siblings Earl (Alice) McAlary, Keith McAlary, Gaylord (Mary) McAlary, Larry (Sandy) McAlary, Barbara Wagner; as well as several nieces and nephews. Her funeral service will be held on Monday, June 13 at 11 AM in the chapel at Holland Home - Fulton Manor, 1450 East Fulton where friends are invited to visit with her family from 10 AM until the time of the service. To read more about her life, to share a memory or sign her guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.