Mary Frances (Wheaton) Willson



(July 1, 1905 - August 4, 2006)


The Lusk Herald
August 9, 2006


Mary Frances Wheaton Willson

Mary Frances Wheaton Willson, daughter of Guy Gifford Wheaton and Lura (Atcheson) Wheaton, was born July 1, 1905, in Fort Collins, Colo. The family later lived in Greeley, Colo., where Mary Frances attended Colorado State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Colorado.) After graduation while teaching school in Wellington, Colo., she met Frederick Brooks Wilson, who was there with Union Oil Company of California during the development of the Wellington Field.

Mary Frances and Fred were married Aug. 5, 1927, at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins, where they lived until 1931. That year they returned to Fred's home north of Manville, to help in the operation of his parents and uncle's Running Water Ranch interests in Niobrara County.

After several years on the ranch, Fred returned to the oil business and was with Continental Oil Company the remainder of his career. During those years they lived in Lance Creek, Star County, Texas, Lake Charles, La., Ponca City Okla., and finally Houston, Texas. Upon Fred's retirement they returned to their home in Manville and began raising a commercial cattle herd. Their Willson ranch was honored along with several others by the State of Wyoming during the State's centennial year 1990 at a commemorative celebration in Douglas as having been a ranch continuously operated by the same family for one hundred years.

Fred passed away in 1996 and since then Mary Frances has continued their ranching business with her daughter Anne Whitehead and grandson Bruce Whitehead.

Mary Frances became a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority while in college and was a member of P.E.O., Chapter I, Lusk. While living in Ponca City Mary Frances taught in the public school system and for seven years at Ponca Military Academy. All other years of her married life Mary Frances was a homemaker. She especially had the joy of cooking, was an accomplished pianist and enjoyed the needle works of quilting and needlepoint.

In Houston, she and Fred were members of the First Presbyterian Church where she served two years as president of the Women's Group.

Mary Frances was preceded in death by her parents, three sisters, Loyce Wheaton, Esther Clark and Anna Shinn, and her husband Frederick Brooks Willson.

She is survived by her daughter, Anne Whitehead, her grandson and his wife, Bruce and Chisa Whitehead, and many nieces and nephews.

Please consider the Niobrara County Medical Services, the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department, the Niobrara County Library and the Niobrara Health and Life Center if making a memorial contribution.

Mary Frances passed away on Aug. 4, Friday evening at the Niobrara Health and Life Center in Lusk. A funeral will be held Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Congregational Church in Lusk with Pastor Tom Strock officiating. Interment will follow in the Lusk Cemetery.

Cicmanec-Pier Funeral Home in Lusk is in charge of arrangements.








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