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Frances Rose McSherry Graham…April 11, 1921 – June 12, 2018

 

Born Frances Rose McSherry in Dwyer (now Faywood), New Mexico on the Mimbres River, April 11, 1921, ‘Fosie was quite a gal.’ Her white blonde hair only started to golden on her 25th birthday, and she was recognized as a beauty in the Deming and Silver City, New Mexico region. She worked hard on the McSherry family’s ranch, often bragging that she could roll a cigarette with one hand while riding on horseback. Riding through the arroyas, often riding double, she and her siblings found tarantula spiders amazingly docile. They would dismount and throw them at each other. She enjoyed shooting and was proud of her accuracy. But she wasn’t always accurate, once when shooting her pistol at a varmint on the ranch she missed and shot a hole in the water tank. Horrified she patched it with bubblegum before her father returned home!

She shared her birthdate with one of her two younger brothers, Regis McSherry, and their special bond extended to his family and his wife Vesta. Born in ’21 she was in her youthful prime for World War II. She worked at White Sands and saw the test bomb go off, snapping a photo. Her work continued as the direct secretary for Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, commander of the Manhattan Project, and she later received accolades for her contribution to the project. This work brought her to Oak Ridge, TN, where she and all the other government employees were stationed and kept on site. Here she had her first of many battles with pneumonia. She had double lumbar pneumonia and had to remain in an oxygen tent. Also here, her romance with the famous physicist, Richard P. Feynman blossomed through letters and a rarely allowed visit. She was mentioned in the New York Times best seller, “Genius,” (a biography of Richard Feynman) as Feynman’s “movie queen,” seen by his friends as likely soon-to-be the fiancée of Feynman.

Beardsley Graham saw her while they were working in both White Sands and Oak Ridge, and he couldn’t quite get her out of his mind. He was a tall, black haired, green eyed, Californian with a very smooth vocabulary. They married in 1951 and moved to Phoenix, AZ. Fosie became Rose and an artist. She was instrumental in the development of the solar enamel firing process on copper. In 1955, McSherry Graham was born with her father’s dark hair and looks. Stanford Research offered Beardsley a job shortly after McSherry’s birth and the family moved to Palo Alto, CA. In 1957 blonde, green-eyed Heather Graham was born and the family of four built their home on Fawn Lane. In 1961 Beardsley was offered the job as President of Spindletop Research in Lexington, Kentucky. The family soon took up residence in a southern-style, white painted brick, three story home with four white columns on 100 acres of rolling green bluegrass. The home was always abuzz with an event being planned to entertain the Lexington society. Rose wore her hair like Jackie Kennedy and Beardsley was appointed to President Kennedy’s Commission on Satellite Communications (COMSAT). Rose became an excellent French chef and had a sous chef for many of the important business dinners. She was a member of the Society of Arts and Letters. Life was good until it wasn’t. In 1966, Rose, McSherry, Heather, and two cats made the trip by station wagon to the Mimbres Valley and the McSherry Apple Orchards of Southern New Mexico. Rose’s family was still living on the ranch but had expanded and planted apples on both sides of the river. After getting reacquainted with her family for a while, it was time to move to Denver to begin a new life as a family of three. Rose became Frances and quickly found secretarial work. She worked for Stearns Roger, Martin Marietta, and a couple of lawyers over her twenty plus years in Denver. In 1987 MacDonald Graham Higbee was born in Lamar, Colorado. In 1989 Frances found the most enchanting home there, a white weeping brick house in Cedar Hills.

Thus began her long love affair with Lamar. She soon made the move from Denver to Lamar and began her retired life. Life was good! She felt welcomed and at home! Frances enjoyed everything about Lamar and especially loved the prairie and its wide open vistas. She got a real kick out of helping her friend, Helen Emick, with the Windmill events that the Emick Ranch hosted. Her life was filled with church, clubs, friends, and an adorable grandson. She was honored to be a Eucharistic Minister and occasional lector at the St. Francis de Sales/Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. She loved to entertain in her beautiful back yard. She was proud of her New Mexican heritage and enjoyed speaking Spanish with her fellow Guadalupanos in the Guadalupe Society. She delighted in helping with the funeral dinners that the Alter Society hosted. She also was involved in teaching young people etiquette. She felt very strongly that knowing how to behave around others in a polite manner was a key to a successful life.

After many bouts with pneumonia throughout her life, her lungs finally failed June 12, 2018 at the age of 97. Her beauty enchanted her life. Wherever she went people wanted to befriend her. She woke every morning with optimism and would often greet the morning with this saying, “The sun is up to meet the lark. The bee is on the wing. And all is well with the world.” Her services held on the longest day of 2018.

She was a beautiful, enthusiastic, hardworking lady, and Lamar is all the better for her time there. She is survived by her two daughters, McSherry Graham Higbee Weber of Davis, OK and Heather T. Graham of Cortez, CO; her grandson, MacDonald Graham Higbee of Houston, TX; two sisters in law, Vesta Spain McSherry of Faywood, NM and Jody Remondini McSherry of Deming, NM; and numerous loving nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass of resurrection will be held on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. The Rosary service will take place at 9:30 a.m. prior to the Mass.  Both services will be held at St. Francis DeSales Church in Lamar with internment to follow in the Fairmount Cemetery in Lamar.  Friends and family can register online condolences and sign the guestbook at www.brownfuneraldirectors.com.  Brown Funeral Home in Eads has been entrusted with funeral arrangements.

 

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