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Frances Olive (Fessenden) Iles

Frances Olive (Fessenden) Iles
  • January 29, 1919 - April 13, 2017
  • Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Battle Creek Academy Worthy Student Fund
    480 Parkway Drive
    Battle Creek, MI 49017

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“She was a lovely woman; my mother's best friend. So sorry she is gone. ”
1 of 4 | Posted by: Kay Crandall Clayton - Oak Harbor, WA

“We are sad for your loss. We pray for God to give you peace and the strength to continue until He canes ”
2 of 4 | Posted by: Gustavo &Bienvenida - MI - Friend

“Gustavo ”
3 of 4 | Posted by: Guzman - Friend

“So many years of happy memories of working in the kitchen at Camp AuSable with Les and Fran. They both were up early cooking to make YCMO special for...Read More ยป
4 of 4 | Posted by: Erich and Karen Bekowies - MI


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Frances O. (Fessenden) Iles, age 98, of Battle Creek, Michigan, went to sleep on Thursday, April 13, 2017. She was born in Marion, Michigan, and then raised on a farm in Cannonsburg, Michigan in a family of 13 brothers and sisters. Music started early in her life, with her favorite brother playing the violin, Fran sitting at the piano and learning to play the songs he was working on. Her piano came by listening, and throughout her life continued to play whatever she heard, never really learning to read music. She graduated from Rockford High School in 1937. After high school, she was working at a shoe company in Rockford. When she was laid off towards the end of the depression, she went to live in Battle Creek at her sister's home, Hazel and Bill Snyder, where she met Leslie Iles at Thanksgiving dinner. Les was then working as a cook with Bill Snyder at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The romance developed under the watchful eyes of Bill and Hazel, with a wedding June 18, 1940 at the Battle Creek Tabernacle.

Fran's life was a dedication to her family, usually finding that there were not enough hours in the day. Christine came first, and was an only child for the first 9 years of her life. Then Cheryl and Bill came along to fill the family. Music was always part of the life for the family with Fran as the accompanist for Les in Sabbath School, church, choirs, and multiple special events. So she naturally led Christine, and later Bill into piano, and fostered in each of them a love for and a feel for music in their lives. Throughout the BCA school years of their children, Les and Fran together were regularly major school and church supporters in music, food, and organization. Fran was always tuned into that little notebook that Les kept in his shirt pocket, and was always part of what made everything work. From BCA, to YMCO, and Camp Au Sable, when food was involved, she was there usually with an apron on. Many an event featured her pies, once with 36 of them.

Before Les' death, Les and Fran had been looking at different houses as a possibility for Chris and Erik, but on review after his death, the house on Brewer Drive was really found to be ideal for Fran. It was a happy day for her to move into a house with a single level after so many years living in a multi-level house.
Throughout the rest of her life, Fran enjoyed many hours playing her grand piano, one song after another, sometimes changing keys for a song several times to get it right for her ear. In the over 20 years that she lived on Brewer Drive, first Cheryl, and then later Bill came to live together with her. With Chris and Erik also living in Battle Creek, there were numerous visits along with her grandchildren and later great-grandchildren. Fran would often drive by their Lakewood home, though she became more and more at home on Brewer Drive, keeping an immaculate home as she always had done. She also became more interested in art, through the years doing oil painting, needlepoint, and bargello embroidery, and passing her love for art to Cheryl, as well as to Chris and Bill. Multiple examples of her work are on the walls of her home, the homes of her children and grandchildren, and will be passed on to her great-grandchildren.

Her art and craft endeavors through the years were enjoyed by Fran and Cheryl as they worked together on many different things, passing many an hour beside each other, often commenting on the other's work. With that example, Cheryl developed a love of fabric arts through many different expressions.

The last years of Fran's life passed through the long goodbye of Alzheimer's dementia, for years living in her home on Brewer Drive with Bill and Cheryl, then finally for the last 3 years under the care of Gull Arbor Senior Living in Richland. Though there were times when recognition of visitors was slow, she was so responsive to having someone at her side, talking with them even though the topic may be confusing. She came to recognize this as her home, and experienced a loving environment with multiple other clients and her caregivers as her family. She finally went to sleep on Thursday, April 13, 2017, awaiting the outstretched hand of Jesus to wake her.

Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the Battle Creek Tabernacle. Visitation will begin at 2:30 with the funeral services at 3:00. Interment will follow at Battle Creek Memorial Park in Battle Creek, Michigan. In her honor, contributions can be made to Battle Creek Academy Worthy Student Fund.