Frances Boeckman, the retired archivist for the Diocese of Jackson, died Thursday, Aug. 27 at the age of 93. Frances will be remembered for her dedication to the church and its history. Below is her obituary:
Frances Ford Blissard Boeckman was born on Dec. 10, 1921, in Houston, Mississippi, during the time her father was mayor of the town. Her parents were Thomas Lee Blissard and Lea Alta Ford Blissard. She is descended from the Ford and Paden families of Montpelier, Mississippi, and the Blissard and Thorn families of Thorn, Mississippi. All families settled there before Mississippi became a state.
She graduated from Houston High School in 1939, later graduated with high honors from Belhaven College, still later received an MA degree from Mississippi College and an MLS degree from the University of Mississippi. She also studied at Colorado College and Arkansas State University. She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
In 1942 she met the man she would later marry, Richard “Dick” Joseph Boeckman of Dayton, Ohio. Stationed briefly at Camp Shelby, he went on to Aberdeen Proving Ground to be commissioned in the Ordnance Corps of what was then the Army Air Corps.
After his time in North Africa, Sardinia and Italy, they were married on June 30, 1946, in Jackson, Mississippi, at St. Peter Church, now St. Peter Cathedral.
When her husband’s retirement from the Army at Fort Carson, Colorado, she and Dick settled in Jackson. They were active in St. Peter Cathedral. She served as the first woman president of the parish council there and was one of the first women Eucharistic Ministers for her parish.
She was an early member of the Good Samaritan Center Board, was active for many years in the University Association of University Women and in the American Association of University Professors. She was an early member of the Jackson Opera Guild, for which she did publicity when she was still a student at Belhaven College, and for the Jackson Ballet Guild. She and her husband were active supporters of New Stage Theater in its early years.
Her interest in writing began early in her life when she wrote poems and stories and even edited her high school newspaper. She edited her college newspaper for two years. In 1950-52 she was in Jackson working at the Jackson Public Library and had weekly columns in the Jackson Daily News about new books in the library.
She published seven volumes collecting her poems for friends and others. She frequently read her poems for various groups. At various times Frances taught at Belhaven College and Manitou Springs High School in Colorado. Later she was Acquisitions Librarian for Jackson Public Library and was Catalog Librarian at Millsaps College, where she retired. Still later she was Archivist of the Jackson Catholic Diocese.
Frances and Dick enjoyed giving dinner parties, particularly the ones with German food, recipes picked up during their four years in Bavaria. All thru the military years she never had to identify herself to army friends on the phone. Her Southern accent prevailed and survived, and she was known as Reb when she invited friends in for real honest-to-goodness Southern cuisine.
She was preceded in death in 1998 by her husband of 52 years, her son, Joseph Bernard Boeckman, her sisters, Thomasina Biissard and Jo Ann Bomar.
Surviving her are two nieces, Mandy Bomar Townend of Aurora, Colorado and Tammy Bomar of Birmingham, Alabama; numerous Boeckman nieces and nephews of Dayton, Ohio, and Omaha, Nebraska ; and many beloved first, second and third cousins.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, at 2 pm in the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle. Visitation will be from 5 – 7 pm on Sunday, Aug. 30 at Sebrell Funeral Home. Interment will be in the National Military Cemetery with her beloved, husband. The family would like to express its profound thanks to the staff, nurses and caregivers of Campbell Cove at St. Catherine’s Village, who so graciously cared for Frances over the last few years.
Memorials may be made to the Richard and Frances Boeckman Trust of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson Foundation, a trust established to help St. Peter Cathedral in campus ministry at Millsaps College. The address is Catholic Foundation, P.O. Box 2248, Jackson, MS 39225-2248.