FRANCIS POPE

FRANCIS POPE

Francis Louise Pope, age 103, of Pelham, Ga., and Lexington, died on Sept. 8, 2020, at Kendal Continuing Care Community in Lexington.

She was preceded in death by her husband, B.C. Pope, and her sister, Cornelia May Eubanks.

Surviving family include two children, Deborah Beckley (husband, Harlan) of Lexington and James Pope (wife, Cathy) of Downingtown, Pa.; five grandchildren, Tracey Pope Dulin (husband, Charlie) of Tigard, Ore., James Christopher Pope (wife, Tiffany) of Pottstown, Pa., Benjamin Beckley-Chayes (spouse: Jess Beckley-Chayes) of White River Junction, Vt., Jonathan Harlan Beckley (fiancé: Stephne Bischler) of Phoenix, Ariz., and Rachel Deborah Beckley Murray (spouse: Kenneth Mark Murray) of Los Angeles, Calif.; and five great-grandchildren, Henry and Oliver Dulin, Conner and Meredith Pope, and Houston Murray.

Born on May 17, 1917, in Pelham, Ga., she was the daughter of Carlie Denton and Beulah May. C.D. May believed in education for his two daughters, and even in the depths of the depression, paid for them to go to Huntington College in Montgomery, Ala. Louise graduated in 1938 and taught home economics until she met B.C. Pope Jr., a recent Auburn University graduate. They were married in 1942 and spent the war years at Maxwell Field in Montgomery.

Major Pope was called to the Korean War in 1952 and sent to Japan. Louise soon followed with two small children in tow, leaving her sheltered life to take the train to San Francisco and on to Japan. It was the start of a life of travel and reluctant change.

Subsequent moves took them to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., where she earned a master’s degree in education in 1952, and to Amarillo and San Antonio, Texas, and Rantoul, Ill. After her children left for college, she went back to teaching home economics in middle school. Her love and empathy for students was repaid many times over, and many remained on her Christmas list.

After retiring to Pelham in 1972, she and her husband spent days antiquing, investing in the stock market, and managing her father’s pecan groves. In 2007, at age 90, and widowed, she moved to Kendal of Lexington, close to her daughter.

She adored Southeastern Conference football, rarely missing an Auburn or Florida game on TV. She was a political junkie and an avid reader of political history and current events. A Southern liberal Democrat who championed the cause of the oppressed and downtrodden, she loved taking on political arguments with conservative friends. She was generous with time and money to many persons who were in need, and established an endowment in her husband’s name at the Hand Memorial United Methodist Church in Pelham to provide for members of the community.

She loved people and they loved her. She kept in continual touch with numerous friends and their children from college and various military assignments, both local and far away. In later years, she hosted bridal showers, luncheons, and teas on her large porch with silver and china, exposing young people to the “correct” way to entertain. That tradition flowed down to the children of her friends and eventually to their children, who always asked “Miss Louise” to host their luncheons.

Her life was one of constant personal growth. She was an accomplished pianist, a competitive game player, and a capable Apple computer user (Google, email, web searches, Facetime, and even Zoom).

A memorial at Kendal at Lexington and Internment at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens in Pelham, Ga., will be announced later.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the B.C. Pope Fund at the Hand Memorial Methodist Church, 242 Hand Avenue West, Pelham, GA 31779; the Shepherd Program at Washington and Lee University in Lexington; or the Kendal Employee Appreciation Fund at Kendal at Lexington.

Arrangements are by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory. N-G

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