Of the many roles Frances richly served in her 87 years including teacher, musician, genealogist, author, business woman, medical technologist, and social worker, none were more treasured than daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great grandmother, friend, and Christian.
The daughter of Frances Hewitt and E. C. Boyte growing up in Natchez and then later Port Gibson, her parents taught her to love many things including her church, nature, animals, music, antiques, and especially learning. She grew up dreaming of becoming a physician. To help prepare to reach that goal, her high school summers were spent at Vanderbilt University studying chemistry and biology.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College, where she met Everette Donald Parkinson. The two married and later moved to Mobile, Alabama. In Mobile, Frances was a medical laboratory technologist for the Mobile County Health Department. Career moves led them to Hazlehurst, Mississippi where they lived for more than 30 years and Frances worked as a social worker for Copiah County and later became a business owner.
In Hazlehurst, they enjoyed the blessing of a full life with many friends. Among the most cherished of their friends are those of the Davis (Harold L. “Jack” and Billie Jane) and Rhymes (J. C. and Celeste) families. These families held a special bond and place in her heart and this strong friendship continued throughout her life. These friends shared life events, both good and bad, celebrated joys and supported one another through grief. As an only child, Frances considered these special friends the closest she had to siblings.
The love of learning and sharing led her to teach Sunday school and Bible studies at her church as well as in her neighborhood. Members of those groups describe how they enjoyed her knowledge, faithfulness to the Lord, and enthusiasm for sharing. As a member of Liberty Baptist Church, she saw the need and worked diligently and meticulously to establish a church library.
Frances had a lifelong love of music, playing piano at her hometown church. In recent years, she learned the dulcimer and enjoyed playing with groups such as Brookmont Strings Plus.
A love of her rich family history led her to many years of genealogy research. Delving into the background of her family, including the Boyte, Hewitt, Gunning, Alexander, Brister, Benbrook and Thornhill families revealed a cast of interesting and colorful characters, to include historical figures, military heroes and patriots. She spoke enthusiastically about these family members as she learned all she could about their lives and their contributions. Her research supported evidence through multiple lines of her family to establish membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Cherokee Rose Chapter and The Order of the First Families of Mississippi. Other research led her to co-author a book, Minutes of the School Board, 1846-1866, Copiah County, Mississippi.
With all these interests, nothing compared to her love for her family. Sons Carey Nelson and Martin “Marty” Everette, daughter Donna Frances and son-in-law Timothy James Smith, grandchildren Andrew Nelson and Thomas Martin, Jessica Lynn (Dear) and Brittany Ann (Burkhead), Steven Boyte and Parker Alexander Smith, great grandchildren Ethan, Ellery and Emerson Dear, and Madelyn and Decker Burkhead filled her heart with joy as center in her world. She shared her love for learning, her talents and her faith with her family while she proudly watched them grow and pursue life interests. Frances encouraged them continue their education and earn degrees from Mississippi College, Belhaven University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi. She saw them choose careers and service such as police detective, machinist, purchasing manager, financial analyst, teacher, business owner, United States Air Force member, information system security officer and student.
Her family finds comfort in the knowledge she is now with her Lord, Jesus Christ, her beloved Don, and grandsons Andrew and Thomas. Her strong love and influence will remain a solid guiding force in all their lives.
Visitation was held on Tues. Sept. 17, 2019 from 10am-11am at Ott & Lee Funeral Home in Brandon, MS. Graveside Services were 2pm on Tues. Sept. 17, 2019 at Union Baptist Church Cemetery located at 2710 Union Rd. SE Brookhaven, MS 39601. Rev. John Cofer officiated the services.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Gideons, or the Mississippi Animal Rescue Fund.