OBITUARY

Frances H Arredondo

August 19, 1922November 18, 2020

Frances Marie Hooper Arredondo, age 98, of Beaumont, Texas passed away on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. Frances was born August 19, 1922 in Fort Worth, Texas, to Fannie Claire Curtis McKinney Hooper and John C. Hooper Sr.

A graduate of Beaumont High School, Frances moved all across the United States before finally settling again in Beaumont. During World War II she learned to fly a plane, but she was unable to get a pilot's license because she weighed less than 100 pounds, so couldn't pass the physical. She liked to tell about a time she and her friend Vi were flying together. The inspector knew she was flying illegally but couldn't prove it. She and Vi were about to fly to Houston in a plane with dual controls, and the inspector removed one set of controls to keep Frances from using them. "But when we were in the air, Vi asked me if I wanted to fly, and of course I did, so we switched places in that little cockpit, though he was more than six feet tall. And on the way back we switched again. And it was a good thing we did, because the inspector was there waiting for us when we landed."

During WWII Frances worked at an airfield ("Gassing up planes was yucky work."). While living in Fort Worth she took art classes at NTAC, and after the war she was lucky to get a job as an advertising art trainee with a man who taught her to write copy and do all the other tasks of advertising, as well as to render the fashion illustrations. This led to her career as a one-woman advertising department in some upscale department stores, including the White House, Worth, Gus Mayer, and Grove. She augmented her income by freelancing as a painter; one project was the painting of racy pictures on men's undershorts. (One example: a woman with a firehose aimed at the fly of the shorts). She loved to tell of a straight-laced friend who came to visit while she had dozens of the shorts hanging in the house to dry; the women looked around, took a deep breath, and said, “My goodness, you must have an interesting life”.

After the war Frances and her first husband operated a crop dusting service in Arkansas. They would take a bus to Pensacola, purchase a surplus Stearman biplane, and fly it back to Arkansas to be converted into a crop duster. They also operated the local ambulance service, and she often said, “It was sort of a synergistic arrangement.”

She taught workshops for the region's art teachers. She enjoyed teaching art in a private school and took great delight in finding ways to entice children into overcoming their limitations. When teaching art, she adamantly refused to give grades. She was asked to teach at Lamar College, but couldn't because she lacked a college degree. Always teaching and always learning, Frances was recognized by her peers as a resource for all things art. She exhibited her watercolors and other art works in a number of galleries across the region and at countless art fairs, where she enjoyed interacting with other artists and making humorous notes on the customers. She was a natural born artist, and loved to work with all media, from watercolors and oil paints to batik, jewelry, enamels, and castings. She was a member of the local art league, and was active in organizing and supporting many community activities. Art was her life, and she loved to share it with the world.

Some of the high points of her life were her trips to Mexico, where she studied with Milford Zornes. She spoke Spanish, and when she traveled she went off the beaten path to collect local embroidery and costume designs and to learn about indigenous dances. She made connections wherever she went. As an ice-breaker, she took a Polaroid camera with her: "If you take a picture of somebody's child and give it to them, they'll give you the village."

Frances had a wicked sense of humor and she loved to tell an irreverent joke or a gossipy story about life in the back rooms of a department store. For many years she was accompanied by a chihuahua: first Pogo, then Taco.

Around the age of 39, having freed herself from a couple of suboptimal marriages, Frances found herself on her own. She had a very active social life, and she savored her independence. She didn't mind coping on her own with the raccoons and possums that got into the house, and, as she said, "I wasn't too bad at working on engines--cars, airplanes, whatever else was handy." A friend told her, "You're always by yourself, you're always drawing, and you always look happy." One of Frances's favorite comments after any activity, from playing with a kaleidoscope to dancing a mazurka, was "I enjoyed that thoroughly!"

Frances was also a voracious reader of boundless curiosity, and she enjoyed spending time with a good book. Even though she had no children of her own, she was a devoted aunt who always took great interest in and had great affection for her nephews and nieces, whose lives, careers, and relationships she followed avidly to the last days of her life.

Frances is survived by her nephew John Hooper, niece Ruth Ann Hooper, niece Kat Hooper McConnell, niece Mary Margaret Hooper, and several friends scattered around the state, including her friend and caregiver for the last seven years of her life, Gloria Meadows.

Frances was preceded in death by her father John C. Hooper Sr. and mother Fannie Claire Hooper; brother John C. Hooper Jr. and sister-in-law Dorothy Langford Hooper; nephew George Raymond Hooper, and niece Elizabeth Claire Hooper.

A Gathering of Family and Friends for Frances will be held Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 4950 Pine, Beaumont, Texas 77703, followed by a Celebration of Frances's Life at 3:00 PM. The service will be streamed via Facebook Live for those who cannot attend in person. Please visit the Facebook page for Forest Lawn for more details. There will be seats and attendants at the gravesite. We please ask that you respect social distancing and the use of masks during the service.

  • FAMILY

  • John Hooper Sr., Father (deceased)
  • Fannie Claire Curtis McKinney, Mother (deceased)
  • John Hooper Jr., Brother (deceased)
  • Dorothy Langford Hooper, Sister-in-law (deceased)
  • George Raymond Hooper, Nephew (deceased)
  • Claire Hooper, Niece (deceased)
  • John Hooper, Nephew
  • Ruth Ann Hooper, Niece
  • Kat Hooper McConnell, Niece
  • Mary Margaret Hooper, Niece

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Services

  • A Gathering of Family and Friends

    Saturday, November 21, 2020

  • A Celebration of Frances's Life

    Saturday, November 21, 2020

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Frances H Arredondo

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Ruth Hooper

November 28, 2020

Yes, please send the poem!

Jennifer Schultz, Hogan

November 23, 2020

Frances was a very close friend of my mother, Rose Schultz. I remember the many craft shows they did together and all the neat Christmas gifts she gave to us. I still have items that she painted and maid. Such a unique lady. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Shirley Marshall

November 20, 2020

I met Fran at a Manning’s art workshop for teachers in the 70s. We became close friends sharing our love of watercolor and art books. She was always a great inspiration to me. She was a fantastic artist. I lost contact with her in later years. Years ago she gave me a poem she wanted read at her funeral . It is L’ENVOI by Rudyard Kipling. I can send a copy if family would like to have it. I send my love to you all. I know how much she loved you and I have heard so many great things about all of your accomplishments. She was so proud of her family. Shirley Marshall

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