Mary Frances Timmons O’Moran Brown, 103, of Aransas Pass, Texas passed away on February 24, 2023.
Services will be at 9:00 A.M., Saturday, March 11, 2023, in the Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Burial will be at Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd., Amarillo, Texas.
In Texas County, Oklahoma, Homer and Annie Timmons gave birth to their second child, Mary Frances on November 8, 1919, in the farmhouse which still stands today. This house replaced the half dug out where they had lived as newlyweds.
Farming was a challenging life yet with their love of God and each other they survived harsh winters, brutal winds, The Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression. For seven years they worked without a producing crop. There were also happy days enjoyed: beautiful days full of sunrises, sunsets and golden waves of grain. Today, the perseverance and hard work is the legacy they left with the farm remaining and operating in the hands of the family.
Mary Frances’s jobs were vast: milking, raising the garden, raising chickens, gathering eggs, helping cook for hired hands, delivering coffee in the fields at night while the grains were being harvested, sweeping the dust from the house daily from the dust that constantly blew and seeped through windows. She helped haul water from the well to the house for cooking, cleaning and bathing-helped her mother make hand soap in a big iron pot over a fire. No electricity, only kerosene lamps, no indoor bathrooms, just outdoor privies with an occasional rattle snake in residence.
The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression slammed the Oklahoma panhandle with a vengeance. No one who experienced that was ever the same. Seven years without a crop upon which their livelihood depended. Rollers of dirt approaching from the horizon which upon arrival turned day-time into pitch black night. People dying of dust pneumonia, many wearing gas masks to protect their airways and lungs. Mass evacuations occurred from Oklahoma to California for those who were desperate for a better life. Many purposely ended their lives without a will to do anything else. The Timmons family prevailed. Annie Timmons when asked how she could possibly cope without being overcome by worry answered, “We would be ungrateful to God if we worried.” This was the spiritual faith that Mary Frances acquired and never let go of throughout her 103 years of life.
Education was important in her upbringing, she graduated as Valedictorian of her high school and graduated from Panhandle A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in business. This was an accomplishment for a woman in the 1930’s.
On a trip 120 miles away to Amarillo she helped support a USO dance. This was a gathering to support our United States servicemen. That was a day that changed her life. She danced with an Army Sergeant, Bill O’Moran, tall, dark and handsome. Bill swept her off her feet and vice versa. Incredibly, they were engaged by the end of the night. Then one cold day in December, 1941, the world was changed, it was announced that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. Bill would without a doubt would be called to war. Mary Frances, her parents, her sister Eloise along with Bill went to St. Louis to meet Bill’s family. Within a week Mary Frances Timmons became Mary Frances O’Moran and was with the love of her life.
Briefly before being shipped overseas the newlyweds were in Hartford, Connecticut where Bill was stationed and Mary Frances worked for the governor. It was a short brief stay because Bill of course went to Europe. Mary Frances gathered rations, bought tires and at the young age of 22 drove across the country to St. Louis to stay with the O’Morans. She later returned to the Oklahoma Farm, walking each day to the post office in Hitchland, over a mile away to hope and pray that a letter from Bill would let her know he was ok. Bill, who served as an infantry reconnaissance sergeant served in two of the most decisive battles in the European theater, Battle of the Bulge and The Remagen Bridge, granting the U.S. victory crashing the last hope the Germans victory. Soon the war was over and Bill was coming home.
After graduating from watchmaking school in Kansas City, the couple moved with their newborn daughter Helen Frances to Amarillo where Bill established “Unique Jewelry and Gift Shop”, selling and repairing watches as well as offering fine retail jewelry. Mary Frances went to work at Phillips Petroleum in the administrative and communication sector during the day then helping Bill with the store until they both left those positions and created B&F Wholesale Jewelry with territory spanning three states. Side by side they worked diligently until prematurely death took Bill at the age of 57. Mary Frances was devastated but the strong survivor trait led her through continuing the business for another 20 years while continuing to operate and oversee the farming operation.
Mary Frances and Bill raised their daughter, Helen who became a registered nurse and soon married Wayne Simmons, the love of her life. Mary Frances once was asked what the happiest moment of her life was, she answered, “When Wayne and Helen found each other”. Mary Frances lived 103 years of life for others, never focused on herself. She cared for her Mother Annie and kept her in her home in Fulton until her mother passed at the age 102.
Mary Frances married Jay Brown after being widowed for 5 years. They loved their life on the Coast, fishing, traveling in their motor home and later building their home on the canal in Aransas Pass. Once Jay’s health declined, she dedicated her being to his care, neglecting her own. Again, the selfless, devoted care giver she was continued.
Those who know Mary Frances knew the bond with her sister Eloise. Eloise, being 8 years younger was always on Mary Frances’s radar. Even though they were miles apart they talked every day and visited each other in Colorado, then Texas, then Colorado, etc. Mary Frances, again a devoted, selfless care giver.
After Jay’s passing, she continued living alone yet had the love and her friends and by now her large family resulting from Wayne and Helen. At the time of her passing, she had four grandchildren, their spouses, twelve great-grandchildren and a great-grandson-in-law. Many happy times of making memories were highlights of her life. She also had a dear friend, Linda White, who spent hours each day as companion, care giver, hairdresser, gardener, chauffeur, carpenter, partner in crime and Dancing with The Stars groupie. Visiting Angel, Molly Mcconnell was a faithful friend and helpmate devoted to her.
Declining health became debilitating, yet Mary Frances remained strong willed, sharp witted and continued her bright intelligent mind. Never a time did she like being dependent but carried it off with grace and appreciation.
Her 103 years of life have touched so many, her love and devotion was endless, and her model lives on guiding us.
Mary Frances was preceded in death by her parents, Homer and Annie Timmons; husband, Wil-liam O’Moran; husband, Eager W. Brown; brother, H.S. Timmons; sister, Eloise Timmons; and niece, Teresa John. She is survived by her loving daughter, Helen O’Moran Simmons (Wayne); grandchildren, Darren Simmons (Angela), Shannon Simmons Burns (Travis), Bryhn Simmons (Kelly), Becki Simmons Scribner; and great-grandchildren, Nicholas Simmons, Jordan Burns Wojtowecz (TJ), April Simmons, Conner Simmons, Jarred Burns, Mallary Simmons, Jessica Burns, Lily Simmons, Kenneth Simmons, Kaden Scribner, Hudson Simmons, and Kate Scribner, all of whom experienced mutual unconditional love and will hold her in their hearts all the days of their lives.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to No Man’s Land Historical Society Pan-handle Oklahoma, P.O. Box 278, Goodwell, OK 73939.