Frances Jean (Miller) Buckingham

Frances passed away peacefully July 30, 2012 at her daughter’s home in Phoenix, Arizona. She was 93. She was formerly of Lansing.

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.

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3 Messages to “Frances Jean (Miller) Buckingham

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Jerry McKay
August 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

A great lady and family supporter.

Allan Falk
August 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Fran was one of several “older” women who in the 1960s welcomed me and my bridge-playing college buddies into the local bridge community. While we struggled to amass masterpoints in dribs and drabs, Fran was already a life master, but notwithstanding her exalted status she readily agreed to play with us as a partner. She was just one of those people who was invariably kind, considerate, and sweet, always taking a personal interest in everyone she encountered. Her bridge friendships with her “boys” endured over 5 decades, she was a great lady who will be very much missed by all who had the privilege to know her.

Nancy Sherman Walzer
August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Fran’s quick wit and great sense of humor will be the things I remember. She & LeMoyne were quite the pair and made our Messner family reunions fun. She and my dad shared the same birthday and they always sent cards. Sorry I could not be there to enjoy the celebration of her wonderful life. Love to all, Nancy


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