She was born Frances Jean Schell May 9, 1919 in Lansing, Michigan, and graduated Lansing Eastern High School in 1936. In 1939 she married LeMoyne Dale Miller, another Lansing native. Frances and LeMoyne had four children and were married for 50 years until LeMoyne’s death.
Frances was active with Eastern Star and served as Mother Advisor for the Rainbow Girls. Fran’s favorite pastime and passion was bridge. She was an avid and accomplished duplicate bridge player. A Life Master, she won many local and national tournaments over seven decades, and was instrumental in forming the Western Bridge Unit 195.
Frances spent her career in the service of her home State of Michigan. She taught night school courses for Lansing Public Schools and later taught classes at the Lansing Business University. She retired from a division of the state police, the Traffic Safety Planning Commission. With retirement came an RV which Fran and LeMoyne used to travel throughout the United States and Mexico, eventually setting in Pharr, Texas.
At the young age of 78 Frances found love once again. Her second husband, Robert Buckingham, precedes her in death. They shared 7 blissful years of love and companionship, residing in Pharr at the Tip-of-Texas, where they enjoyed an active social life. Together they sailed Europe, around the Horn of South America, and through the Panama Canal.
After the loss of her beloved Bob, Fran continued to maintain her independence in Texas with the help and support of many dear friends. She engaged herself in bridge and amazed everyone with her outstanding vitality. Eventually, Fran needed support and so she spent lengthy stays with her daughter Beverly, in Phoenix, Arizona. In Phoenix, she enjoyed playing Texas Hold’em. At the tables she was known as ‘Grandma’, where she was equally well liked and feared, as she was a superb player.
Frances should be an inspiration to us all. She was able to adjust to the many changes of a lifetime and found happiness and rewarding activities throughout all life’s stages. She truly had the gift of gab and made easy friends with her warm, genuine smile. Frances Buckingham will be missed dearly.
Frances was preceded in death by her daughter Jean Miller McKay. Survived by grandson Doug (Su) McKay of Westland, Michigan, grandson Charles (Dana) McKay of Cleveland, Tennessee, and granddaughter Karen McKay of Chelsea, Michigan. Six great-grandchildren.
Frances is survived by a son, Dale L. Miller of Harrison, Michigan. Grandchildren: Geoffrey (Katie) Miller of Rogers, Arkansas, Molly M. Miller (John Peno) of North Andover, Massachusetts. Four great-grandchildren.
Daughter: Beverly Miller Winkler of Phoenix, Arizona. Grandchildren: Amy (Matt) Heistand of Mesa, Arizona, Ryan Winkler of Phoenix, Arizona and Michelle Winkler of Mesa, Arizona. One great-grandchild.
Son: Tom G. (Kathy) Miller of Highland, Indiana. Grandchildren: Kelly Miller of Hudson, Florida and Sara Frances Miller of Highland, Indiana. Two great-grandchildren.
Special Cousin: Alex Vahey of Ontario, Canada.
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 10, 2012, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2:00 p.m. until the service time.