Frances Morley Walden

June 25, 1933October 6, 2020

Our dad always referred to her as “The Go-Go Girl”. No sooner would she get home from one event, then she’d turn around and head out for another.

Mom taught 1st (and sometimes 2nd) grade for 38 years, and she frequently would run into her students around town, and ended up teaching the children of her first students. After her master’s degree, she earned 30 credits in special education in order to meet the needs of her students in the best possible way.

A childhood friend, Robert Walden came back to Bloomington after serving in the Korean War and reconnected with Frances. They were married on June 25th, 1954 and had three awesome daughters (she made us promise to put that in here, honest!), Julia, Ellen, and Roberta. The eldest was always in trouble for not being born during spring break of Mom’s senior year at Indiana University, a much more convenient time frame for a busy lady! Mom retired from teaching in 1995 to take care of Dad, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After several years of loving care, Dad passed away in 2007.

Neither grief, nor retirement slowed her down. Her typical week was filled with activity. It could be a shift at Opportunity house, or Bible Study, or choir, or Music Makers practice. If not those activities she could be playing bollyball, or attending a retired teacher’s luncheon. Or she may have had a VITAL tutoring session followed by a Home Extension club meeting. Home extension club meetings led to involvement in the county fair. Every year she went a little nuts making MANY items to enter into MANY categories. After recuperating from the fair frenzy every year, things started to ramp up for the annual Senior Games. Mom participated in several events, and was on the committee for many years.

She was also active in her beloved Fairview church. She started attending Fairview Methodist Church when she was seven years old. Her family lived in a house situated on part of the parking lot of the church. She sang in the choir, attended bible study, and took communion to housebound members with her dear friend Darlene Harbuck. She was also a member of the Church of Women United and the Church Circle.

Mom was an avid volunteer, working countless hours for many organizations over the years, including Senior Games, Opportunity House, and the Monroe County Fair Art Department. In addition to singing in the church choir, she loved singing and performing with the Music Makers.

One of her favorite all time passions was attending IU basketball and football games. Saturdays she could usually be found cheering at a game. She usually met her sister and brother to tailgate. Sunday was filled with church, singing in the choir, and lunch afterwards with friends. Even her downtime was active. While watching TV (usually football or basketball or her favorite game show, “Match Game”) she spent many hours sewing and stuffing small ‘hug-a-bears’ that were donated to the pediatric unit at the hospital. She had a bag ready to donate and another batch cut out, ready to sew, when she passed.

Throughout it all, she made a point to get the family together for weekly dinners as long as she was able.

She would apologize when her out of state daughters visited because, even though she had cancelled several things, there were always two events she absolutely had to attend and inevitably tried to drag said daughters with her. We were so proud of her for keeping busy and leading a fulfilling life.

Mom was at peace with her death, she said “I’ve lived a very good life”. She only had one regret. She was trying to get to 100 blood donations and only made it to 97 before her health made it unwise.

As mom jokingly suggested when we buried dad in 2007, “The marker says ‘Together Forever’ but maybe it should say ‘Together at Last’ “because his Go-Go girl has finally come home to rest.

We will all miss her very much.

Frances Morley Branam Walden was born June 25, 1933 to Merle and Turi Elizabeth Branam. She passed away at her home on October 6, 2020 at the age of eighty seven years.

Frances was predeceased by her husband Robert, parents Merle and Turi Branam, sister Sydney McClary, and brother George Branam, MD.

She is survived by daughters Julia ((Bob Schulz) from San Diego, CA, Ellen from Orlando, FL, and Roberta who stayed home in Bloomington and who was Mom’s stalwart companion and go-to for all things big and small. Her sisters are eternally grateful for her care of Mom. Frances is also survived by five grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren.

If you choose to make a memorial contribution, it may be directed to Fairview United Methodist Church (600 W. 6th Street Bloomington, IN 47404) or a charity that is near and dear to your heart.

Funeral Services are scheduled for Friday, October 9, 2020 at 2:00 PM in Fairview United Methodist Church, 600 West 6th St. with Reverend George Hartzog officiating, burial will follow in Valhalla Memory Gardens. There will be a gathering of family and friends prior to services on Friday from 12:00 – 2:00 PM.

The family of Frances M. Walden would like to thank IU Health Hospice for making it possible to give our mother the peaceful death in her own home that she wished for. We would not have been able to care for her and keep her at home without the help of Hospice. Thank you so much!

We also appreciate all of the cards, food, broth, flowers, phone calls and visits we received. Mom left this world feeling loved and treasured. Thank you.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends

    Friday, October 9, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, October 9, 2020


Frances Morley Walden

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sandra Bender

October 17, 2020

Since I was also an MCCSC teacher, I knew of Frances; however, I only interacted with her in retirement, through MCRTA. I quickly learned of her wit, her pride in her daughters, her energy. The picture in the paper says it all...positive, all smiles. She brought energy to every room she entered.
I mourn for her loss, and will cherish her memory.
My deepest sympathy to all the family.

Robin Langley

October 13, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing but what a wonderful tribute you girls shared. Your mother was truly a very special lady. She was my first grade teacher at Kirksville many years ago. I became a teacher myself and am currently teaching first grade at Lakeview. When I first went back to teach at Lakeview, I ran into your mother somewhere and asked if she would be our special guest reader during a Read Across America week one year. She came and I was so happy to introduce my first grade teacher to my students. She always had a smile on her face. May your memories comfort you and her wisdom continue to lead you.

Valarie Gillaspy

October 11, 2020

Mrs. Walden was my 4-H leader. She taught me sewing and cooking. We had meetings at her house and put on skits and fashion shows at Dyer Junior High school. I marvel at how she taught school, brought up three daughters and could give of herself to others so willingly. I had not seen her since my youth and ran into her at target. I went on and on praising her and thanking her for teaching me lifelong skills. She was modest and seem truly surprised to be remembered. I have thought of her often in my life.

Stella Hooker-Haase

October 9, 2020

Rest in Peace, dear Frances.
I got to know you through the bolleyball group and Church Women United. I will miss you very much and will all the more cherish our last visit together only 2 weeks ago.

Linda Kay

October 9, 2020

You may remember me as Linda Black (Jean’s and Clyde’s daughter from Fairview). I sang in the choir with your Mom when I lived in Bloomington. Because we were both altos, we sat next to each other. She was always so sweet with me. She was a lovely and dear woman. Your obituary is beautiful.

Jackie Thompson Turner

October 9, 2020

Mrs Walden was my first grade teacher at Kirksville. She made a lasting impact on my life with her positive attitude and kindness. I consider going to a small school in rural Kirksville as the foundation that prepared me for success in life. And Mrs Walden was my first grade teacher who I remember fondly. I saw her at a Kirksville school reunion a few years ago. She actually recognized me, more than 45 years after she taught me. Peace and God's blessings to her family.

Leah (Thompson) Leahy

October 9, 2020

My three sisters and I were privileged to have Mrs. Walden as our first grade teacher at Kirksville. Her smile and kind spirit was always the same-- whether I was in her class or when she'd recognize me years later as an adult. I couldn't have had a better start to my public education. A great lady.

Mary Lou Craig

October 9, 2020

I remember meeting Frances when she lived in Fritz Terrance. Later we worked together a t the Opportunity House. She was always such a happy person. She will be missed . RIP

Robert LaGarde

October 9, 2020

It is so good to read some of the same exact thoughts that I have of Mrs. Walden. Just think of all of the lives she has inspired and changed for the better. Rest sweetly Mrs. Waldon, go and receive the blessings God has for you being such a blessing to Him and caring for all of His little children for so many years. Heartfelt thanks is all we have, but thank you again. Robert "Bobby" LaGarde

Joyce Peden

October 9, 2020

I met, your Mother through Extension Homemakers. She was at most events-and took an active part. I read my husband the part of the obit about going a little crazy getting many exhibits ready for the fair. We agreed that was me too. Francis was such an inspiration-so willing to serve and be involved-even as she grew older she kept giving. Doubt heaven will slow her down. What a great lady!


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