It’s out of the ordinary for The Sedona Citizen to publish something so personal, news without analysis, just ramblings from the hearts of people, but the following essay is a tribute to one of only a few financial supporters of The Sedona Citizen. Perhaps it was the shock of the news, or realizing I had a Thank-You note written but not yet mailed. In any case, these accolades are for a good person–the kind of person all of our readers wish, hope, and work to be.
Please add your personal remembrances or thoughts – of any length – in the Comments section below this entry. [Apologies for previously spelling McWherter with an "i". I kept the error in the file name so people who got the link yesterday can still find it.]
I met Fran McWherter in a class at the gym, where it was obvious she was rehabilitating herself from a physical trauma. That was at least three years ago, possibly a couple more. What struck me about her quiet, retiring self was that she could do almost none of the exercises featured in the class, but she came every time, accepted the modifications the trainer offered or made up her own, and pushed, pushed, pushed to get where she needed to be.
My schedule changed and I didn’t see her for a while, but when I did, she was walking well, more cheerful than ever, and I experienced her in a different element. She was on the Board of Directors for Democrats of the Red Rocks (DORR), the Sedona, Arizona Democratic educational organization.
It was by attending a meeting there that I learned about her high-tech skills in managing bulk emailing and many other aspects for DORR. Perhaps her white hair threw me until I remembered the generation(s) that entered the computer and Internet revolutions before I did.
At the DORR meetings, I learned a few more things about Fran. She was:
- Very efficient at the technical tasks she performed for the organization
- More generous than I could have imagined by knowing her only from an exercise class
- Extremely well-regarded and loved by her colleagues and peers.
When I heard yesterday that she had died the night before, May 8, 2012, I was shocked. I’d seen her at the DORR breakfast March 15. A few days later, March 18, she had a medical checkup that resulted in a diagnosis of esophageal cancer. A mere seven weeks and one day later, she was gone, having been ministered to by friends who will post below, I hope.
I acknowledge awareness of my own mortality is closing in. But I also live in an area where many live past 90 and quite a few to 100 or more. It’s crazy to see someone I know, who with a bottle of hair color could “be” 20 years younger than I.
Rest in peace, dear Fran. And may your family and friends all be assured you made a significant difference in the time you were among us.
Please post comments or tributes of any length in the Comments box below. We appreciate hearing from those of you who knew Fran McWherter much better, and can add a dimension that helps all of us townsfolk feel more grateful for those who walk among us.