Marguerite Helen (Washington) Francis was born on October 26, 1927, delivered by midwives . “I was so tiny they wrapped me in blankets and placed me close to the potbelly stove to keep me warm. And Grandma who I called “Mama” found a shoebox to place me in for burial just in case I didn’t make it. God wasn’…read more
Marguerite Helen (Washington) Francis was born on October 26, 1927, delivered by midwives . “I was so tiny they wrapped me in blankets and placed me close to the potbelly stove to keep me warm. And Grandma who I called “Mama” found a shoebox to place me in for burial just in case I didn’t make it. God wasn’t ready for me yet. I wanted to be somebody and do something with my life.”
In 1942, at the age of 15, Marguerite graduated from Mobile County Training High School in Mobile, Alabama. Determined to do whatever it took to better her life, she washed dishes and ironed clothes and paid her way through college, graduating in 1944 from Stillman Institute with a degree in education. Before she left the campus there was an aging Black woman dragging a trunk that needed help and she asked Marguerite, “can you please help me, I’m so…..” and before she could finish asking, Marguerite grabbed the handle to help her. Not knowing at the time who this woman was. When she arrived to her room the lady thanked her. The lady was Mary McCloud Bethune. The trunk is on display at DuSable museum today.
In 1945, Marguerite taught school in a one room school house before she married Edward Francis and moved to Gary, Indiana where they gave birth to a family of six children. In 1962 she attended Purdue University graduating in 1964, at the top of her class, with a degree in nursing. She worked in the neonatal unit at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, Indiana and Methodist Hospital in Gary at the request of the doctors because they respected her strength of character and professional opinions regarding diagnosis. “You ought to be a doctor.” They’d say. Marguerite later joined and became a member of the OES (Order of the Eastern Star). Whenever Marguerite wasn’t working or going to meetings she took care of people whenever they were sick or needed her. You could go to her house and a pan of food crowned her backdoor step for any stray animal who was down on his/her luck. And no one was allowed to leave her house without a bag of food to carry home with them. Marguerite Helen Washington was my Mama. On January 18, 2017 at the ripe age of 89, the Most High called her home. The midwives who delivered her into the world came back for her. However, the shoe box was traded in for another. Mama wanted to be cremated. So when I identified her, she lay peaceful in a box. Her life had come full circle. She leaves behind a legacy of Willpower, Determination, Kindness, Love, and wonderful memories You can see and listen to Marguerite say poetry at stanncenter.org/no1alone.
She leaves behind four children to cherish her memory, Saline McGuire, Marvin Francis, Ivan Francis (all of Gary, Indiana), and Carol McQuay (of Milwaukee, Wi.) Preceded in passing by her 2 sons Kenneth R. Francis, Larry S. Francis, and our father and husband of 21 years, Edward Francis.(“My Ed”), her parents Alfred and Sammie Dell Washington, sisters Gertrude Condra and Rosetta Hill, brothers Paul Ran, Clifton, Clinton, and Nathaniel Washington. She also leaves behind one sister, Geraldine Gordon (of Hobart, Ind.), devoted son-in-law Ezell McQuay, granddaughter Mia Mcquay, beloved nephew Vernon Hill Jr. and loving wife Sharon, Donald and Faye Washington, very special niece Andrea Potis, grandsons, Michael McQuay (navy officer), Brian Lane (texas), four granddaughters, three great-grandsons, two -great grandsons, three great-granddaughters, Mr. Allen Walker,” Thank You”, you gave her a reason to laugh and live. She truly loved you, and a host of loving friends. She will be truly missed, but never forgotten.
Services for Marguerite H. Washington Francis will be held Saturday February 4, 2017 at “Holy Name of Jesus”, 2364 South 11th Street. (At the corner of Hayes. One block North of Lincoln) Mass will be performed by Fr. Henry at 11:00am.
Written by her daughter, Carol McQuayhide
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM