At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo
P. O. Box 50614
Kalamazoo, MI 49005
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Warm, welcoming, and loving, Frances Long was a heart-centered woman whose generosity and gratitude inspired all who knew her. Born in a time of struggle and having lived her youth in a decade of want, Fran was a proud Scots and grateful American. With great love and deep devotion, Fran built her hopes and dreams around her family and with an undaunting spirit made her dreams reality. Treasured by many, Fran will be remembered by many with tremendous fondness and profound gratitude.
As a result of Scotland’s economy being ruined by four years of war and with high unemployment, and the poorest living conditions in Britain, thousands of Scots emigrated to build a new life in the colonies during the early 1920s. As Hugh MacDiarmid’s new literary magazine, aimed at restoring a genuine Scottish sense of identity, gave birth to the Scottish Renaissance, the nation began to slowly build a renewed sense of hope. Nowhere did hope radiate more powerfully than in the home of William and Agnes (Nicol) Anderson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, upon the birth of their youngest child, daughter Frances on October 6, 1924.
Growing up in Scotland, Fran knew the comforts of growing up in the good company of her older brother William and sister Kathy. While her father provided for the family through his hard work with the tile company he owned, Frances’ mother worked as a homemaker. The Anderson’s values of hard work, family, and gratitude proved a firm foundation upon which Frances consciously built the rest of her life.
As a youth, Fran enjoyed the challenge and thrills of playing field hockey, swimming in the 60-degree waters of the North Sea, and sliding on King Arthur’s Seat! She enjoyed an especially close relationship with her brother William who often took her for forbidden rides on his Harley. Fran experienced the powerful loss of her sister when Kathy died at a young age while she lived in Australia.
Frances worked for a time for the Dewar’s Scotch Whisky company and later for the Red Cross. It is while working as a volunteer for the Red Cross during WWII that Fran had the good fortune of meeting Max Long, an American serving with the US Air Force. Set up on a blind date by mutual friends, the two felt instantly and undeniably attracted to one another, and their 70-year adventure took flight. Stationed in Kingslyn, England, Max made regular trips to visit his sweetheart while on leave and on May 4, 1945, the happy couple married in a hotel in Scotland.
In 1946, Fran and Max delighted in the birth of their first child, Val. Just six short weeks later, at the age of 21 and with Val in her arms, Fran left the home of her childhood and bravely took sail for the shores of her new life in the US on the Queen Mary. After safely arriving in the US, the young family lived for a short time in the barracks at Fort Custer. They soon moved to Cedar Street and later bought their first house on Hayes Park. Eventually, they moved to the house on Glendale which quickly and always became “Home.” It is here that Fran and Max lovingly welcomed four more children, Gary, Pat, Bill, and Bob.
While Max provided for the family by working as a driver for several local businesses, including the Kalamazoo Creamery and as a salesman for Cadillac, Fran ran the home while also working for JC Penney and IHS beer distributor. Fran's joy was her family, and she worked hard to provide a safe, loving home centered in the same principles she grew up with. With amazing stamina and fortitude (or was it just plain Scottish pride?) Frances possessed an infinite amount of energy which she used to organize, serve, and inspire others. She moved like the Energizer Bunny, was never sick, and possessed an empathetic heart. Frances welcomed all into her home and treated her friends as family; as a result, she was affectionately considered by many as a second mother. Though her cooking lacked finesse, as evidenced by her efforts to microwave a roast, no one ever left her home hungry; but no one could boil a potato the way Frances could!
For those who knew her best, Fran's unwavering confidence often provided much-needed comfort. Val, who had trouble hearing as a child, was often made fun of by other children. It was with Fran's steadfast encouragement Val learned she was enough and that she possessed the capacity to endure the ignorance of her peers. All of Fran's children knew the safe harbor of their mother’s heart as well as the power of her example. Unless they were profusely vomiting, they went to school; tin foil was to be reused until it fell apart; gratitude for life’s blessings was to be expressed, and a wide berth was to be granted when Mom’s Scottish blood was riled up!
With a deep sense of all that was truly important in life, especially her relationships with others, Fran chose to be grateful for the simple things in life. Family vacations proved particularly joyful times for Fran. She relished visiting any place on the water, especially Lake Michigan and Myrtle Beach, and treasured the good times camping with her kids. Two of Fran's most memorable trips included taking the kids to the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal and traveling home to Scotland with the entire family in 2000.
An accomplished seamstress in her younger years, Fran also grew to absolutely love to knitting! Many cherished creations will continue to wrap her loved ones in her affections for years to come.
From her very first days in the US, Fran faithfully participated in The Overseas Brides’ Club. For over 70 years Frances enjoyed the companionship of her fellow brides. With Frances' passing, the once large group of women now only has two remaining members.
Without a doubt, Fran’s heart’s delight was her grandchildren. For it was in the eyes of Greg (Ish), Heather, Erica (Ben), Scott (Brea), Jill (Casey Reimer), Katie, Craig (Jessica), Jessica (Michael), Lisa, Sarah, Matthew (Ashlee Adams), and Taylor (Sharon Olvera) that Fran saw the reflections of her legacy of love. Whether holding them as babies, knitting them a blanket, cheering on their endeavors, or celebrating the births of their children, Fran enveloped each one in bubbling enthusiasm and undauntable faith. It was abundantly clear that in their grandmother’s heart they were precious, there was safe harbor from life’s storms, and their accomplishments would be duly celebrated.
Those who knew her would unhesitatingly agree that Fran’s life centered on her family. She was a devoted wife and mother, and her fun-loving nature made her a wonderful grandmother to her cherished grandchildren.Though the world is surely duller without Fran's bright light, her vibrant legacy will continue to brilliantly shine in the hearts and lives of those she leaves behind.
Frances H. Long, age 92, of Kalamazoo, passed away on June 14, 2017. Fran was born on October 6, 1924, in Edinburgh, Scotland to William and Agnes (Nicol) Anderson. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Monday, June 19 from 10-11am at the Life Story Funeral Home, Portage; 5975 Lovers Lane (344-5600). A funeral service will follow at 11 am at the same location. Left to cherish her memory are her children: Val (Jim) Lippincott, Gary Long, Pat (Rob) Austin, Bill (Shelley) Long, and Bob (Barb) Long; 12 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren. Fran was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years Max; brother William; and sister Kathy. Please visit Fran’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, archive a memory or photo, and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations may be made to Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo, where the funds will go towards children with cancer, as she loved all children.