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Frances Lorraine (Mattes) Bower
February 15, 1929 ~ July 28, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
Frances Lorraine (Mattes) Bower, 94, most recently of Smyrna, Tennessee, but long-time resident of Litchfield, Illinois, passed away on July 28, with family by her side.
Frances was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. She was born at home on February 15, 1929, in Chapin, Illinois to Henry and Edna (Powers) Mattes. She was the third of four siblings, Kenneth Mattes, Phyllis Jean Brickman and Mary Yates, all of whom predeceased her.
Frances was the valedictorian of her 1947 class at Chapin High School and a 1950 graduate of St. John’s School of Nursing in Springfield, Illinois. She married A. Eugene “Gene” Bower on July 25, 1950, and they resided in Jacksonville and Alton before settling for good in Litchfield, Illinois. For more than 30 years, Frances worked as a nurse for area hospitals and doctors’ offices and then joined her husband in a well-deserved retirement. Gene died in 2014. Frances remained in her Litchfield home until September 2022 when she moved into assisted living at Azalea Court in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Surviving are: two daughters, Karen (Denny) Van Sandt of Smyrna, Tennessee, and Sandra Bower (Steve Giurlando) of Melrose, Massachusetts; two grandsons, Trevor (Ashley) Van Sandt of Brentwood, Tennessee and Kyle (Stephanie) Van Sandt of Saratoga Springs, New York; three great-grandchildren, Mackenzie and Savannah Van Sandt of Brentwood, Tennessee, and Finn Van Sandt, of Saratoga Springs, New York; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
From an early age and throughout her life, Frances loved to play the piano and did so for her church, at silent movies, at high school dances and for her own enjoyment. As recently as a month before her death, Frances entertained her fellow residents at Azalea Court with some of her favorite piano tunes, including “My Happiness,” which she knew by heart.
Frances also loved basketball, a love she shared with her husband. The two attended many high school and college basketball games throughout the state, with a special fondness for the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois. They also watched a lot (A LOT) of basketball on TV and were known to welcome drop-by visitors with a “Come on in, but you have to watch the game or come back later.”
Frances and her husband enjoyed road trips and she spoke often of their favorite cross-country, multi-week trek “out west” they took post-retirement. (Her daughters remember the driving vacations of their childhood slightly less fondly and remain puzzled to this day at their truck-driving father’s choice to also spend countless hours of his vacation behind the wheel of a car.)
Frances loved watermelon, fried chicken (hers was awesome!), lemon meringue pie, and Diet Coke. She doted on the steady stream of dogs and cats that made their home with the Bowers through the years and she was known to take a crew of stuffed animals, which she referred to as her “kids,” on walks around the neighborhood and around Azalea Court. She loved a good joke, playing a prank, and winning sporting bets against her son-in-law.
She attended church throughout her life and was a member at various times of Chapin Christian Church in Chapin, Illinois, St. Timothy Methodist Church and Union Avenue Christian Church, both in Litchfield, Illinois, and most recently, Plainview Baptist Church in Plainview, Illinois.
A celebration of her life will be held at a later date and arranged through Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to: Plainview Baptist Church, 11365 Shipman Road, Plainview, Illinois 62685; Union Avenue Christian Church, 422 E. Union Avenue, Litchfield, Illinois 62056; or to another charity close to your heart.
The family is forever grateful to her caregivers over the last few years: Pam Hamblin Loyd of Litchfield, Illinois, whom Frances loved as a daughter, and the kind and compassionate staff at Azalea Court in Smyrna, Tennessee.
You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family