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December 9, 1920 - December 31, 2012 OKLAHOMA CITY Frances L. Bissonnette passed away peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City on December 31, 2012. Frances, or Fran, as she preferred to be called, was born in the dining room of her family farmhouse in Selma, California, to Margaret and Charles Clinkenbeard on December 9, 1920. Her family moved to Fresno, California, when she was six years old. Fran attended school in Fresno and eventually received her Associate's degree from what is now known as Fresno State University. A month before Fran was to start high school in Fresno, she met a handsome young man named AI Bissonnette at a Christmas party. Fran and AI were married on August 27, 1942, and were married for 47 years until AI's death in August of 1989. Fran was an accomplished dancer in her high school years and taught dance at a dance studio in Fresno. On one occasion, she received instruction in tap dancing from Ruby Keeler, one of the great tap dancers of her time. She continued with her dance abilities for many years and directed and starred in a production while she and AI were stationed in Lake Charles, Louisiana. When AI entered the Army Air Corps after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Fran and Al were married. AI continued in the Army Air Corps, which later became known as the Air Force, and Fran and AI moved to numerous locations, eventually living in over 34 homes. It was Fran who insisted that the family move to Oklahoma City in 1962 rather than California when AI retired from the Air Force. Fran believed that Oklahoma City was a better environment for raising children than California in spite of the fact that neither Fran nor AI had ever been to Oklahoma City. Leaving their last station at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, Fran drove to Oklahoma City from Charleston, South Carolina, with her two daughters, Karen and Joan, while AI stayed at Ramey Air Force Base during the Bay of Pigs conflict. Upon arriving in Oklahoma City, Fran found a home for the family, a school for her daughters, and a job for herself as a secretary at John Marshall. Because of her great work ethic and attention to detail, Fran received several promotions at John Marshall and continued to work there until she was hired by Oklahoma City University School of Law as Director of Admissions, where she worked until her retirement in 1980. Fran and AI moved to San Luis Obispo, California, in 1981 after their retirement, where they spent many wonderful years. In 1994, Fran moved to Oklahoma City to be closer to her grandsons, Eric and Blake Renegar. Fran was an accomplished seamstress and an excellent cook. She often said that she read a cookbook much like someone else would read a novel. In San Luis Obispo, she became an avid gardener and an enthusiastic volunteer for the local hospital. Fran served as president of the hospital volunteers' group on two occasions. She was also a great lover of dogs and probably never met a dog she didn't like. A few years ago, Fran decided that she needed to move to Epworth Villa in Oklahoma City and often commented that it was a very good decision. While at Epworth Villa, and in spite of numerous health challenges, Fran organized the weekend movies for those in assisted living, helped plan and organize a luau for Epworth Villa, and was chosen to participate in an organizational seminar for Epworth Villa. Her family wishes to thank the employees at Epworth Villa for their kindness and support for Fran, as well as Pam Rust and her family for their unwavering help, support, and love. Fran was preceded in death by her husband, AI; her daughter, Karen; her sister, Thelma; her brothers, Howard and Claude; her parents, Margaret and Charles; her brother-in-law, Bob; and her sister-in-law, Lucille. Fran is survived by her daughter, Joan Renegar and husband Gregg Renegar; her grandsons, Eric Renegar and Blake Renegar; Eric's wife, Erin Renegar, and great-granddaughter, Reese Renegar, and grandson, Matt Weinrich, and great-granddaughter, Isabelle Weinrich. A memorial service will be held in Fran's honor on Saturday, January 12, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Smith & Kernke Funeral Home at 14624 North May Avenue in Oklahoma City.

Published in The Oklahoman from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2013
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