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Mary Frances Hitchens Niswonger

Mary Frances Hitchens Niswonger peacefully went to be with the Lord on January 26, 2024, at her home while surrounded by loved ones. Frances was born January 31, 1933, to Morton Dean Hitchens and Jennie Lynn Gillispie Hitchens of Cumberland, Ohio. As the youngest child in the family, she was often referred to as ‘spoiled’ by her sisters, which Frances of course denied. She enjoyed a loving, happy childhood. Frances was a 1952 Caldwell High School graduate. A year later, she married her soulmate, Billie Lee Niswonger, on March 21, 1953, at First Church of Christ Caldwell, Ohio. They had a whirlwind romance for the ages. Frances would often fondly reminisce about square dancing every New Years Eve with Billie and their friends. Frances and Billie had two children, Dan and Jo Ellen Niswonger. If you ever knew Billie, or know Dan or Jo Ellen, you know what type of shenanigans Frances was up against most of the time! Loving, happy memories built her life.

Frances was a retiree from Caldwell Schools, where she served as the ‘friendly lunch lady.’ She often wore holiday jewelry to celebrate with the children. She not only provided meals but shared a loving smile with every child she served. Frances was a diehard Caldwell Redskins fan. Frances loved watching any Redskin team, player, or affiliate succeed.

Frances’ faith in the Lord was steadfast. She was a member of First Baptist Church where she served as an Awana teacher, choir member, Deaconess, cook at Pine Lake Bible Camp, and a supporter of church missionaries. Frances had a gift of making new church members feel welcomed and like part of the family. Frances shared the Gospel with others right up to her hour of passing, never wavering in her faith.

Frances, or in later years known as ‘Franny’ or ‘Granny Franny’ by her loved ones, was known for her pink frosted sugar cookies, homemade noodles, and caramels. She had a sweet tooth and taught us all it was okay to have dessert before dinner, or for breakfast. Just like with her church, Frances welcomed all into her family with her sweet smile and quick wit. Frances left a lasting legacy of faith, family, and love for all that knew her.

Frances was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sisters, Mildred Hickman, and Lois Stiers.

She is survived by her children, Dan (Paula} Niswonger and Jo Ellen Niswonger (Taylor Kirchner) all of Caldwell. Grandchildren, Sheri (Josh) Lutz of Weyers Cave, Virginia; Jason (Edna) Niswonger of Mooresville, North Carolina; Darci (Josh} Perkins of New Concord, Ohio; Stacy (Rob} Lowe of Caldwell, Ohio; Dee (Donnie) Nau of Sarahsville, Ohio; and Lee Dimmerling of Cumberland, Ohio. Great Grandchildren, Haileigh and Hayden Lutz; Jonathan Miller-Niswonger (Halle); Jacob Niswonger (Ciara); Marshal Niswonger (Nichole}; Reece and Cecile Boo Perkins; Emma, Lyla, and Noah Lowe; Landis and Layke Nau; and Ryker and Baylor Dimmerling. Great-Great Grandchildren Henry and Ellis Miller­ Niswonger. Also, special friend, caretaker and ‘adopted granddaughter’ Jamie Mathers. Frances was the last surviving aunt on both sides of the family, leaving numerous special nieces and nephews, with no favorite ever being noted.

Friends may call Sunday, January 28, 2024, from 1-4 p.m. at McVay-Perkins Funeral Home, 416 East Street, Caldwell. The funeral service will be observed Monday, January 29th at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, 518 North Street, Caldwell, with Pastor Jay Workman officiating. Burial will follow at Halley’s Ridge Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Pine Lake Bible Camp, c/o First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 292, Caldwell, Ohio, 43724.

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