Frances Markle Davis, a lifetime resident of the Catskills, passed away July 26, 2019 at the age of 103. Frances was born in Red Kill, Fleishmanns, NY on May 2, 1916 to Saul Markle and Orpha Moseman. She lived on the family farm in the Red Kill valley much of her life, later in Arkville, and for the past year and a half at the Delhi Nursing Center.
She happily started school at age 6 in the one-room schoolhouse in Clovesville in 1922. The building still stands (it is the first house on the left going up big Red Kill Rd from Clovesville). When students completed sixth grade, they went to Fleischmanns High School. Frances wrote in her 2009 memoir, “I rode to school in the morning with either the mail carrier or someone going to the village, but in the afternoon I walked home from school. A group of us walked together…those who lived on Hog Mountain often walked me home and then cut through the fields and continued to their homes. We had great times…it was a two-mile walk and fun all the way!”
After graduating, she attended clerical school and earned an Associate’s degree. Always an avid reader of all genres, Frances enjoyed history and mysteries, particularly the historical novels of Mary Renault and the police procedurals of John Grishman.
She was an enthusiastic basketball fan. Everyone learned not to call her during the NBA playoffs. She also loved thoroughbred horse racing, and cheerfully engaged in betting with family members at every Triple Crown. She threw more than one race-day party.
She married Alfred James “Jim” Davis in 1937; they later divorced. Fran is survived by her son, Col. James M Davis (USMC ret.) (Barbara); daughter Capt. Abigail F Davis (Northwest Airlines ret.); grandson Jack Davis; granddaughter Jessica Davis- White (Sam); great-grandson James R Bellows; and many other relatives.
Fran was indomitable. She had many jobs over her long life, lastly working for the MARK Project until she retired at age 89. She always drove her own cars, and it was with eternal regret and considerable resentment that she gave up her final vehicle when she was 95 (“I would never do it again,” she often remarked). In the last 15 years of her life, she experienced several falls and broke numerous bones, none of which slowed her down for long, if at all. Three years before her death, she waded barefoot into the Red Kill Stream with a cold beer in her hand, sat on a rock, and remarked to her daughter, “This is very nice.”
She will be greatly missed by all of her family.
There will be a memorial service at the Fleischmanns Methodist Church in the fall. Details will be announced in the newspaper.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Hynes Funeral Home, Margaretville, New York