Mary Frances Casey: April 29, 1937-May 18, 2023
Mary Frances “Francie” Casey, 86, of St. Paul, passed away at 11:47 a.m., Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Prairie Mission Retirement Village in St. Paul.
Mary Frances VanLeeuwen was born on April 29, 1937, to Raymond Bernard and Rachel Frances (Hill) VanLeeuwen at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. As a young girl, she grew up in rural St. Paul, attending Prairie View Rural School from 1st to 4th grades and St. Francis Catholic School from 5th to 8th grades. She graduated from St. Mary’s Cathedral High School in Wichita.
Following high school, Frances earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from St Mary’s of Plains in Dodge City in 1964. In 1972, she earned a Master of Science Education from Pittsburg State University. She continued her education in Catechesis by earning a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Aquinas Institute of Theology through the St. Louis University Campus and maintained a Master Catechist Certification from the Diocese of Wichita.
Francie began her teaching career at St. Mary’s Queen of Angels Catholic School in Fort Scott in 1954. Other schools at which she taught included St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Kingman; St Andrew Catholic School in Independence; St. Rose Catholic School in Columbus; St. Rose Catholic School in Paso Robles, California; Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Groves, Texas; schools in CUSD 101, St. Paul, Erie; and St. Mary’s-Colgan Catholic High School in Pittsburg. For over 20 years, Francie served as the Director of Religious Education at St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul. As a Master Catechist, Francie instructed numerous Catholic educators over the years at many levels and in multiple dioceses. Her love for education of young people in academics and the faith and for enriching Catholic school instructors in the Catholic faith will continue to carry on for generations.
She was a devoted mother and took particular pride in her role as grandmother. She enjoyed spending lots of time with her four grandchildren while they were growing up. “Sugar” as she was so endearingly called, guided, nurtured, spoiled and loved them so much.
The funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 22, 2023, at St. Francis Catholic Church in St. Paul. Burial will follow at St Francis Cemetery in St Paul. The rosary will be prayed at 6:00 p.m., Sunday, at St. Francis Catholic Church, followed by the family receiving friends.
Memorials are suggested to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, whose mission is to support catechists, parents, and others in the church and beyond, as they grow in their understanding of the religious potential of children. Checks should be made payable to St. Francis Catholic Church. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.