DUDLEY, FRANCES R. (1939 ~ 2006). The following is a family-placed obituary for Frances R. Dudley, spouse of Harold Dudley, former member of the Texas Employment Commission.
"Frances R. Dudley, a longtime Austin resident and a woman of liveliness, wit, intelligence and determination, died Dec. 15, 2006.
From the beginning to the end of her life, Frances always seemed to be at the heart of every gathering, organizing and directing events for family, friends, and coworkers at the Texas Legislature. Frances made each one memorable and terrific fun.
Born Sept. 15, 1939 to T.L. and Mary Wileman, Frances was raised in rural Randlett, Okla. She remained close to and had a special bond to that community throughout her life.
After graduating from Randlett High School in 1957, Frances moved to Wichita Falls, where she met and married her husband, Harold. In 1965, they moved to Austin and she began her professional career working in the Texas Senate, the Texas Parent-Teacher Association and the Independent Cattlemen's Association. In 1981, she began work for former state Rep. John Gavin of Wichita Falls, and retired as assistant director of government relations for the Texas Department of Insurance.
'She guided me through the legislative process in such a way that she let me think it was all my doing,' said her longtime boss, friend and mentor John Gavin. 'She's basically responsible for any success I might have had in my 10 years in the Texas Legislature.'
She was a natural people person. Her friendliness and indefatigable sense of fun endeared her to everyone she met.
Frances stories abound. She hosted many 'Rotunda' gatherings, including all-night 'Professional Development Retreats' at her Lake Austin home. Frances began the tradition to end every retreat with a long howl at the moon.
Her magnificent sense of fun could rise to any occasion. Once during a particularly tedious and late-night debate on insurance legislation in the Senate, Frances, as a spectator in the Senate gallery with some of her coworkers, instigated 'The Wave,' drawing chuckles from everyone in the Senate Chamber except the lieutenant governor, who reprimanded her. But even he was amused.
Frances' energies also extended to her involvement in the community through numerous political and civic activities. She was an active and lifetime member of the PTA, president of the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association, member of the Garden Club and Women's Hospital Auxiliary and served on the executive boards of Zachary Scott Theater Center and Artists Harvest.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a friend of Frances' since their children were in school, said: 'Frances was one those rare souls who gave more of herself than she ever asked of others. Her warm spirit and loving heart will be missed by everyone she touched both in and out of state government.'
For the past seven years, Frances faithfully cared for her husband, Harold, as he became ill with Alzheimer's. He died in April.
Frances also was preceded in death by her parents; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Don and Evelyn Dudley; brother-in-law Jack Wingfield; and niece Karen Rose Turner.
She is survived by two sons, Tom Dudley of Austin and Tim Dudley of Boston, Mass.; two sisters, Charlotte Wingfield of Albuquerque, N.M., and Peggy Rose and her husband, Joe, of Bakersfield, Calif.; and one brother, Rev. Larry Wileman and his wife, Judy, of Tulsa, Okla.; as well as five nieces and nephews, and five great-nieces and nephews, all loved her dearly.
Her family would like to thank the ICU staff and volunteers of St. David's North Austin Medical Center for their care and support. The family also expresses gratitude to the ministries of the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday, Dec. 18 from 5.30 until 7.30 p. m.
To honor Frances' new life with her Lord and her reunion with Harold, a private burial service will be held Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the Texas State Cemetery, followed by a public memorial service at First Baptist Church, located at Ninth and Trinity, at 11.30 a. m. Dec. 19.
Honorary pallbearers are Nancy, Crispin and Dixie; Bill and Debbie, the Rotundas and the Randlett Classics.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Gathering, Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, 7127 Bee Cave Road, Austin, Texas 78746 or the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, Texas 78739."
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.