Frances Lynne Ledbetter Welch, 77, of Waco, TX, passed away on November 7th, 2022, following a cardiac arrest. Services will be 11:30am, Thursday, November 17, 2022 at Grace Gardens Funeral Home & Crematorium in Waco, Texas.
Frances was born on July 23rd, 1945, to Herschel and Dorothy Ledbetter in Athens, Texas. As a young girl and as a young adult Frances had a passion for horse riding. The loss of her sight did not dent that passion one bit and she continued to ride regularly until she went off to college.
As a young adult Frances was very active in school and the community. She had public speaking engagements with both the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. She was a member of the Student Council for three years, was voted “Most Friendly Girl” by her senior class and did all of this while maintaining an “A” grade average.
Frances attended the State School for the Blind in Austin, Texas for two years and graduated from Athens High School. She went on to study for two years at Henderson County Junior College before transferring to Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
After graduating from SFA with a degree in Sociology, Frances started her first job at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Waco, TX as a “Blind Rehab Specialist”, kickstarting a 41+ year career teaching blind veterans “living skills”.
Frances met the love of her life, James Welch, at the VA Medical Center. They were happily married for 30 years until James’s passing in 2017.
In 2016 Frances retired to spend her time swimming and going to lunch and dinner with her many friends, spending time with James, and taking care of her beloved dog, Bugsy. Her retirement ceremony after a remarkable career was chronicled by the Waco Herald-Tribune. Her long-time supervisor told the paper, “She has a natural empathy and natural teaching style.” And everyone quoted in the article commented on Frances’s laugh: “Everyone who knows Francis knows she has the best laugh.”
Frances was predeceased by Herschel and Dorothy Ledbetter, James Welch, and nephew Brendan Welsh. She is survived by her sister Laurel Ledbetter Welsh, nephew Mark Welsh, and her great-nephews (PJ Welsh and Connor Welsh) and great-nieces (Colleen Welsh, Molly Welsh, and Bridget Welsh). And, of course, her canine-child Bugsy.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Salvation Army, an organization Frances felt strongly about.