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Frances Carolyn Gates, a resident of Lamar, Missouri since 2004, and formerly of Fort Meyers, Florida, died January 23, 2013 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.  Born in Utica, New York on July 17, 1926, Fran was the first of three children of Edwin Augustus and Elizabeth Louise Babcock Gruppe.  Having moved to Fayetteville, New York in 1937, she graduated high school in 1944, received an Associate of Arts Degree from Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri in 1946, attended the University of Rochester 1946-47 and graduated from Syracuse University in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

For 12 years, she was a participant in the Colgate Conferences on Foreign Policy, taking her place as a young woman along side many world leaders.  In the 1950’s she was the first chairperson of Syracuse University’s International Student Program and one of the founders of the Syracuse World Affairs Council.

She held many offices in the Syracuse YWCA, including board member, finance chairperson and president.  She helped to establish and was treasurer of the Fayetteville Village Nursery School.  She also served as treasurer of Syracuse Meals on Wheels, the Dunbar Center Auxiliary, and the League of Women Voters and for six years, the United Church of Fayettevlle boards of deacons and elders.  She was a member of her church for nearly 50 years.

Serving on the Board of Trustees of the Manlius Pebble Hill County Day School for 11 years, Fran served for three years as its first woman President.  She chaired the Admittance and Scholarship Committees and for a time served as acting Head of School.  Her interest in Pebble Hill School began as a parent, with her four children attending the school there, as had her husband, Daniel.  She received recognition in 1977 as a Friend of the School for her 20 years of participation and leadership.

Although not well know, Fran played a critical role during a crucial Board of Trustees meeting specifically scheduled for the final discussion and individual Trustee vote on a motion to close the school, then facing seemingly insurmountable financial obstacles.  When all but three Trustees had voted for closure, Fern addressed the meeting with great passion and voted to remain open, convincing the remaining two to agree with her.  This was followed by a majority of the Board changing their votes and the School remains open and strong today.  It is difficult to measure the enormity of Fran’s gift to the Manlius Pebble Hill Community on that day, but her passion and commitment to the School has never been in doubt.

Fran served six years as a member of the Stephen College Board of Curators and was active in founding the Alumni Fund Board, serving on it for six years, and was active in the design and implementation of the four-year Alumnae Scholarship Program Association Board, for which she organized alumnae conferences in locations throughout the United States.

She was honored as a Syracuse Post Standard’s Woman of Achievement in Education in 1978.  She was a member of Coterie of Fayetteville and “The Monday Night Club”.

Having enjoyed the extensive school and physical experiences of the above, in 1978 Fran launched a 15 year career in professional fund raising for non-profit organizations.  One of her first projects was with The Collegiate School in New York City as a Special Consultant in Development assisting in preparation of the Capital Fund Drive.  As she assumed successive projects each new group of volunteers found her combination of a “can-do” attitude and the confidence of her “been there” voice of experience were very helpful as they were about to take on new responsibilities.  Always a lady in poise and decorum, and always willing to lend a helping hand no matter how menial the task, she was liked and respected by her co-workers.  Fran had the genes, the intellectual curiosity, the drive, the tact, a phenomenal name recall, Gruppe and Gates multi-generational family support and the intelligence to employ all wisely.

Fran is survived by her four children; Elizabeth Gates-Jobes III (Jack) of CA, Katherine O’Sullivan (Michael D.) of Lamar, MO Christopher Gates and Karl Gates of Chittenango, NY; five grandchildren, Michael, Shane and Keely O'Sullivan, Joshua and Jeremiah Gates; one brother, Edwin Babcock Gruppe (Ann) of Cazenovia, NY, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and by her friend and former husband, Daniel Gates of Chittenango, NY. 

She was preceded by her parents and a younger sister Elizabeth Sotanski.

A memorial service and interment will be in Fayetteville, NY  at a later date.

Contributions are suggested to Stephens College in Columbia, MO in care of Daniel Funeral Home.



#7 Thousand Island ParkSusie Nolte 2013-03-11 17:35
Kay and Beth,
Don't know how I just sensed the passing of your mother. But you should know that I have fond memories of your mother. I recall her watching us swim out to Bath house shoals with a picnic lunch on the rocks. I recall watching her swim in the River. I hope that your memories are a comfort to you. Your mother was an accomplished woman, and I am glad to have known her( even as a child she was impressive to me !)
Susie Nolte , TI Park
#6 Lauderdale By the Sea, FLKeith Hawkins 2013-01-30 09:58
I served on the board with Frances at Manlius Pebble Hill school in the 1970's and it was due to her hard work and dedication that the school is still there. Her tireless efforts are what kept the school from being foreclosed on.
My deepest condolences to Dan, Karl and the entire family.
#5 Lamar, MOPam Logan 2013-01-28 16:24
I am so lucky to have knowm Fran. She was a very special lady, and I am proud to have called her a friend. I would visit with her with Kay, and she would always have a smile. She will be very much missed by everyone that had the priviledge of knowing her. Love to you all.
#4 Lamar MoBetty Sparks 2013-01-26 16:21
I'm really sorry to hear about your mom. She was a great lady and I always enjoyed taking care of her. She will be missed by many.
#3 Cottage Grove, MnMary Sotanski Pagel 2013-01-25 13:10
Dear Cousins Beth, Kay, Chris & Karl,

Tom & I are so very sorry for your loss. Your Mom has been on my mind frequently over the last 2 months. Now I know why. Sorry I was not there for you or for her at her passing. Please know that my heart goes out to you and I do know how you feel since I have been there with my Mom, her sister. Please let me know what I might be able to do to ease your pain, ok?
#2 Sheldon, MoScotty Scoville 2013-01-24 17:20
Kay and Family,
I am so very sorry for your family's loss. Your mother was a very special lady. Please know that your family is in my prayers.
#1 Lamar, MOCandi Carroll 2013-01-24 14:15
Kay and Family, I have missed you at school and just heard that you were with you Mom. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. May your many memories of your Mother bring you peace and comfort. After reading about her life she was a lady of accomplishment and character in her personal and professional life. Her attitude and attributes are missed in the world today.

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