Frances R. (Hamele) Malone
PORTAGE - Our pen is called this day to the very sad duty of recording the death of Frances Ruth (Hamele) Malone, a woman who has lived in our city nearly all of her 71 years. Frances passed away peacefully early Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, surrounded by her loving family after a brief, recurring battle with cancer.
Frances was born Dec. 28, 1936 in Portage, the first of six children to Eugene "Kiddo" and Ruth Seaton Hamele. She enjoyed a happy and loving childhood with her parents, siblings and friends in "her city" of Portage. Fran was baptized in St. Mary Church and attended St. Mary's School. She graduated proudly with honors from Portage High School with the class of 1955. On March 17, 1956 Frances married Patrick William Malone Sr. in St. Mary's Church, Portage. Their 52-plus-year journey together included many cherished moments, travels and six happy children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Fran's life in Portage furnishes an example for everyone to consider. She was faithful to every duty, true to her convictions and honest to the uttermost instinct of nature. She was a kind and unchanging friend, quick to forgive and was never heard to say anything bad about another. Frances took a deep interest in the prosperity of Portage and was glad to do whatever she could for its advancement.
Although she considered herself first and foremost a mother and homemaker, people in and around Portage knew her to be a full-time community volunteer. Outside of raising six children (and a few others along the way) she also helped her husband build a successful State Farm Insurance agency from the ground up. She managed to form and chair the first Portage Arts Center Task Force. This led to the start of the Zona Gale Center, now known as the Portage Center for the Arts. She was the Zona Gale Center's first president, founding board member and later a treasurer among other duties on various committees. Her accomplishments were many.
The eternally happy and cheerful Mrs. Malone was involved with Portage Area Community Theatre (PACT) since its infancy. She served on the board of directors for 12 years and held positions of president, vice-president, secretary and committee chairman. She also directed PACT plays, including "The Odd Couple," "The Mousetrap," "Never too Late," "Spider's Web," "Annie," and "The Drunkard." Fran acted in seven additional plays and wrote and directed a melodrama, "Murder She Cried!"
In 1985, Fran was a founding board member of a private agency serving the developmentally disabled in need of community housing and community employment opportunities (now known as ARC). This successful agency is currently under contract with Columbia, Sauk, Marquette and Adams counties. She also served as its treasurer.
The Portage Women's Civic League was proud to call her a member for many years. She served on its board of directors for 14 years between 1973 and 1989. She also served as V.P., recording secretary and as various committee chairs, including chair for the first three-day celebration of Zona Gale's birth.
Fran got involved with Girl Scouts when she was 7 years old. She would be involved with Girl Scouts and Camp Fire Girls for more than 35 years. She was a board member of the Wisconsin Community Theatre Division, a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and a Madison Diocesan Council of Catholic Women's board member. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), the Portage Bicentennial Celebration Committee chairperson (1974-76) and a forward-thinking founding board member of the Portage Canal Society.
Fran received the "Red Cross Certificate of Recognition for Water Rescue" for saving the lives of two people at Silver Lake in 1965. She also received the 1965 Jaycette's Carol Award and was recognized in the 1966 edition of Outstanding Young Woman of America for this brave deed. In 1988, the Wisconsin State Journal honored Fran as one of "10 Who Made a Difference in Southern Wisconsin" for her various charity work.
The accomplishment Fran was most proud of is her family. Fran is survived by her husband Pat; six children, Colleen (Jim) Helmann, Patrick Jr. (Jenny) Malone, Kevin (Cheryl) Malone, Erin (Andy) Lenar, Sean (Peggy) Malone and Quinn (Tammy) Malone; 14 grandchildren, Josh (Mindy), Corinne and Collin Malone, Adam (fiancee Ann Bauer), Traci and Kimberly Helmann, Alec, Emma and Lucas Lenar, Evan, Madison and Hannah Malone, Tom Shortreed and Brynna Malonel; and one great-grandson, Kian Malone.
She is further survived by her sisters and brothers, Helen (Brad) Hintz, Terri (Charlie) Kababey, Ginny (Fred) McCormick, Gene (Peggy) Hamele and Louis Hamele; nieces and nephews, many cousins, her brother-in-law, Philip (Barbara) Malone, and a long list of friends. Fran was preceded in death by her father and mother; her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Emma and Philip Malone; and her sister-in-law, Mary Malone.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home. The funeral celebrating her life will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Church in Portage. Visitors may call from 10 to 11 a.m. before the celebration. In lieu of flowers, Fran has requested that donations be made in her name to the Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St., Portage.