Former Port Washington resident Frances S. Cone was an educated, accomplished woman who was also a spiritual person, her daughter Cathy Prescher said. “She really lived her faith. It just radiated from her, and people noticed that,” Mrs. Prescher said. “She always said, ‘I’ll keep on living until I don’t have any more assignments.’ People would come to her and pour out their hearts and she would just listen.”
Mrs. Cone, who had multiple sclerosis and raised two teenagers alone after her husband died when she was 42, handled all the challenges life threw at her with grace and dignity, her daughter said. “I think she was brave,” she said. “She wouldn’t call herself that, but I really think she was. She was so amazing. She didn’t complain. She loved life, loved learning. She had so many friends. She was a very encouraging person.”
Mrs. Cone died of complications of MS Monday, Dec. 29, at Cedar Grove Gardens II in Cedar Grove. She was 82.
Mrs. Cone was a native of Vandalia, Ill., where she was born on Feb. 10, 1932, to Robert and Bernadine Stansfield. She was salutatorian of her high school class, then attended William Woods College for several years before earning her bachelor of business administration degree at the University of Missouri.
On June 28, 1952, she married Derry Cone of St. Louis, Mo., in Eugene, Ore. Mrs. Cone had a varied career, working as a chemical statistician for Eastman Kodak in New York and charting territory in Alaska for McDonnell Douglas.
When her children were born, she devoted herself to raising them, but after her husband died, she pursued her master of business administration degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University. She then worked for a number of area institutions — charting leading economic indicators in the area for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, working for the graduate school and foundation at UWM and then joining Family Service America in Milwaukee, where she became an executive vice president before her retirement.
She spent a great deal of time with her grandchildren after retirement and indulged in one of her favorite hobbies, reading. Mrs. Cone spent a lot of time at the Niederkorn Library in Port Washington and participated in book clubs at the library, her daughter said. She was a member of Professional Dimensions, the National Society for Fund Raising Executives and the women’s auxiliary of the Milwaukee Press Club.
While in her 50s, Mrs. Cone became “a total jock,” her daughter added. “She took swimming lessons and learned downhill skiing and cross country skiing,” she said. “She went snorkeling and roller skated, which embarrassed my brother and I to no end. She would go on 35 to 40-mile bike rides. “She really enjoyed just getting out there. She was pretty impressive.”
As her MS became more severe, Mrs. Cone moved in with her son Andrew and his family near Oregon. She later returned to the Port Washington area before moving to Cedar Grove Gardens II in 2013.
Mrs. Cone is survived by her daughter Catherine (Durand) Prescher of Port Washington; son Andrew (Heidi) of Hillsboro; grandchildren Daniel Prescher, Emily Prescher, Christine Cone, Nathanael Cone, Joseph Cone, Grace Cone, Joshua Cone and Faith Cone; and four great-grandchildren. She is further survived by her brothers-in-law Richard Cone of Chesterfield, Mo., William Cone of Cameron, Mo., and Bruce Stansbury of Indiana; and longtime caregiver Tammy Verhage of Milwaukee.
In addition to her husband Derry, who died on March 21, 1975, she was preceded in death by her sister Ann Riedle, brother-in-law Robert Riedle and sisters-in-law Phyllis Cone, Carolyn Stansbury and L. Cone.
A funeral service for Mrs. Cone will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan.5, at Pentecostals of Sheboygan County, 621 Broadway St. in Sheboygan Falls. Her son, Andrew Cone and the Rev. John D. Putnam will officiate. Interment will be in Conesville Cemetery in Conesville, Iowa.
Memorials are suggested to the family. The memorials will be used to establish three hummingbird gardens in Mrs. Cone’s memory.
This obituary was published in the January 1, 2015 of The Ozaukee Press, Obituary Section
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