Frances Alexandria Meenan

From the perspective of her surviving Daughters, Betty and Gloria

This isn’t going to be your usual, ordinary obituary because our Mother was anything but ordinary. In fact, she was an extraordinary woman with so many amazing attributes!

Mom was a pillar of strength from the time that she was a child, and she was ferocious, especially when it came to one of her kids or grandchildren. She fought passionately all through her life, even down to the very end. One of her Grandson’s, Michael, has always referred to her as “Wonder Woman” because he witnessed that strength and ferocity when he was a young child as Mom had taken him with her, along with our brother, Gary and his wife, Sharon, to a bait shop at the end of the Texas City Dike which had a huge patio where they would serve the best hamburgers and now and then would have family friendly live music. Michael said that a couple of guys started a fight with our brother and when Mom saw what was happening, she jumped into action and as Michael puts it, she was like “Wonder Woman” when she yelled “Don’t mess with my Son”, then grabbed both men by their hair, smashed their heads together, and shoved them into the railing causing them to fall over it into the water below!

She was incredibly intuitive, almost to the point of being able to predict things before they happened. There were many occasions throughout her life when she would feel and see things that other’s couldn’t. She once had a dream that our brother Gary was trapped and the very next day, Gary was involved in a bad car accident where he was trapped under the power pole in which the car had run into. There were other times when she instinctively knew that either of us were in danger and was always there to protect us.

She was a whirlwind of energy whether she was cleaning the house, or when she needed to go somewhere, as she would walk, and very fast I might add, since she was never given the opportunity to drive. And for someone who didn’t drive…she sure got around town a lot!

Mom loved to dance and have a good time! There was a time when she would go out with her girlfriends and twist the night away! She would often brag that she taught us everything we knew about dancing. And one time when she was at a party a few years ago, even though she was using a walker to get around, she stood up and started to dance to the music!

Our Mom was an awesome cook and she truly enjoyed cooking! Although she would cook many delicious meals, Mom would make the best homemade chicken soup and oh how we long for that at times, especially when we aren’t feeling well. Mom was also well known for her homemade tamales and hot chile’ (salsa), which she would often times end up selling to the local firefighters and police officers back in the day. She also loved to feed people when they would come over, even if they said that they weren’t hungry.

And then there was BINGO! Oh how our Mom loved playing Bingo. She would go and play Bingo practically every night of the week. And she was the luckiest person as she would win constantly! One year, back when Dad was wanting to get a new pickup truck, she had won so much money playing Bingo in one month’s time that they were able to afford the down payment to buy that truck and she even paid to have the camper put on the truck bed.
Born and raised in Texas City Texas, Mom was one of nine children. She had five brothers, Nick, Johnny, Joe, Gilbert, Frank and three sisters, Mary, Reyes and Alice. There was another sister, San Juanita, however, she had died as a baby. Our Grandfather, Nikolas, had passed away when they were young and they all lived in this very small house right across the street from the Monsanto Refinery and the Port Of Texas City, with our Grandmother, whose name was also Frances. When Mom was in the fifth grade, she had to drop out of school to help with her siblings and eventually, she would begin working.

Life was never easy for Mom and little did she know that her true strength and courage was yet to be tested. On the morning of Wednesday, April 16, 1947, while working just down the street from her home, the entire city was rocked by a horrendous explosion that was heard and felt as far away as 150 miles! Mom’s first thought was that they were at war however, as she ran down the street to check on her family at home, she quickly learned that it was an explosion. She ran past several dead bodies with only one goal in mind, and that was to get to her family. The explosion had sent huge burning shrapnel flying through the air and a piece of one had landed in one of our Grandmother’s legs which ultimately contributed to her death years later. She franticly searched for her brother, Gilbert, as he was nowhere to be found. She was even told that he was listed as being deceased. However, in her gut, Mom knew that he was still alive and she was determined to find him. She managed to finagle her way onto a bus that was heading to a Houston hospital and when she got inside of the hospital, she ran down the halls yelling for Gilbert. She did find him, badly injured, however, just as she felt it, he was alive. Her entire story of that day, among other survivor’s stories, is chronicled in the book about the explosion called “We Were There” and it can be purchased at the Texas City Museum.

Later in life, she met and married a handsome man who drove a big 18 wheeler, Don Gray and during that marriage, she gave birth to Betty and our brother, Gary, who sadly passed away in 2006. That marriage ended and a few years later, she met and married a tall, handsome, red headed man who was a firefighter named, Frank Meenan, with whom she gave birth to Gloria. She remained married to him until he passed away in 1996.

Mom eventually developed memory loss due to the onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia and lived out the rest of her life in the home of my sister, Betty, along with the help of home hospice care in the last year and a half.

During her lifetime of 94 years, Mom had to say a final goodbye to her husband, Francis Edward Meenan, her Son, (our Brother) Gary Wayne Gray, three grandchildren, Carl Mott Jr., Roger Dale Mott, Richard Allan Mott, one great grandchild, Liam Thomas Gage, Parents, Nikolas Alexander and Frances Carter Alexander, and three of her brothers Joe Alexander, Gilbert Alexander and Nick Alexander, and three of her sisters, San Juanita Alexander, Reyes Fuentes and Alice Davila.

Mom was fortunate enough to have numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren in her lifetime! She also leaves behind her two daughters, Betty Mott and Gloria Rabon, two brothers, Johnny Alexander and Frank Alexander and her sister, Mary Gardiner.

Flowers are welcome of course, however, if you prefer to make a charitable donation in lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association as a Tribute Donation in the memory of our Mom.

1 comment

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady, Gloria.
    I love to read obituaries that tell a story of who the person was. Listing a birth and death date doesn’t do justice. I understand that lengthy obits are much more costly but it is the last gift you ever bestow on your loved one.
    Please accept my sincere condolences and admiration for this heart warming tribute.

    Billie Fremont

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