Frances Agnes Fish Edmiston was born in Fort McKavett on October 6, 1926, the youngest by 12 years of six siblings. She passed from this earth on September 15, 2023 in the Schleicher County Nursing Home, after only 15 days away from her ranch home (Under protest!). Frances started school about the time her oldest sibling Clarence left home, so she became her father John Fish’s cowboy. Her older sisters Bill, Bernice, Doris, and Delores worked in the house with their mother, Orpha. Frances rode her pony, Casey Jones, to school at the Murr School, then gathered hair goats to the shed on the way home. John had to build a corral at the school because Casey Jones could untie himself. The Murr boys, especially Davis, were her classmates. Starting in the sixth grade, Frances rode the bus 45 miles to school in Junction, through 12 gates and four river crossings. Even though she never arrived for the first period, Frances graduated from Junction High School in 1944. She and classmate Jeneva Wahl Bryant attended their 78th Junction school reunion last year.
She met her future husband, W.F. Edmiston, age 6, at a church meeting in Fort McKavett. He bested her cousin Frog Williamson, age 6, in a fist fight, and Frances, age 8, wanted to whip him but couldn’t catch him. They resumed their romance in San Angelo, where Frances was a Registered Nurse, having completed training with the Army Nursing Corp. They were wed at the Murr Church on November 25, 1949.
They resided in Eldorado, operating a filling station and also following oilfield jobs across West Texas to survive the drought of the ‘50s. Frances borrowed money from her uncle Jim Benton so they could lease a ranch and buy cows in partnership with Orval and Charlene Edmiston. John Fish brought Frances a milk cow and calf, then 10 nanny goats and a billy. The cows and sheep were always WF and Frances’s together, but the goats were HERS!
Frances was hired as the Schleicher County ISD school nurse in 1963, and was nurse, counselor, safety and truant officer, moral advisor, and surrogate mother to SCISD school children for 30 years. She knew every staff member, child, their parents or step parents, their children, and all of their stories. She was always an advocate for the child, and could cure anything from a heartache to stomachache, using a session on her couch, an ice pack, Cepacol throat spray, Tums, and love. She retained an encyclopedic knowledge of names, connections, and events. Even in the hospital and nursing home, she would recognize each visitor, and ask about their family, by name, individually and specifically.
Frances and WF were active in Church, the Federal Land Bank, and their 88 (domino) club, but most vigorously supported and cheered their children and grandchildren through their personal, academic, sporting, and 4-H careers. Frances was always a fierce competitor in any game of dominoes or cards. She was never one to let her grandchildren win, so when you actually won, you knew you had really accomplished something! Frances instilled a love of family togetherness through home cooked meals and family games.
Frances and WF’s greatest joy was sharing quality time with their family working livestock and mentoring them on the ranches, while inspiring Christian excellence, a strong work ethic, love for the land and livestock, and careful stewardship of the Lord’s blessings. Over the years, Frances cooked countless meals to feed her children, grandchildren and all those that had come to help. There was no better place than to be sitting around France’s kitchen table during lunch with fried turkey breast, beans, rolls, and her famous peach cobbler.
Once WF got sick, Frances retired from nursing and took an even more active role in the ranches. They operated their ranches in Schleicher and Kimble Counties until WF’s death in 2008, and Frances continued to operate her ranch with hired and family help until her passing.
Frances is survived by her daughter Sue and Kenneth Rusler, Tracy, Chad, Shelby, and Austin Redwine, and John Cody, Lindsey, Kennedy, Dawson, and Jack Rusler. She is survived by her son William Frank Jr, Darlene, Haley Edmiston, Ben, Kelly, Mason, Hunter, and Ruth Cate Edmiston, William Frank III, Lindsay, William Frank IV, and Stella Frances Edmiston. She was preceded in death by her son Tim, and survived by Diane, Kelby, Ryan, Lexanne, and Hazel Jane Edmiston.
She is also survived by a host of nephews, nieces, former students and friends.
Visitation will be held on Friday September 22, 2023 at Love Funeral Home in Eldorado. Frances will be honored with a memorial service at the Mertzon Highway Church of Christ on September 23, 2023 at 1:30 PM, with burial to follow at the Eldorado cemetery. Her host of friends and family are invited to help celebrate her life and legacy. Online condolences may be made at lovefuneralhome.net