Frances Aldana


Frances Aldana was one of the “Grand Elderly Ladies” that I met when I first came to Trinity Methodist Church. She always had Trinity United Methodist’s concern in her heart and was involved in many aspects of this church. She was also strict, opinionated, proud, talented, had interesting humor, could be lovable, etc; and I could say that I was a little frightened of her until I really got to know her; and then she was my special friend until the day she died at almost 103 years old.

Frances sang in the Chancel Choir for many years, and she would tell me that on Thursday, which was her day off from home chores, Pop Aldana (as she called him) would drive her into town from her log cabin on North Yellowstone. She would meet Lillian Schwarz, another of Trinity’s Grand Elderly Ladies, and they would eat lunch, spend time in the library, and then she would go to choir practice in the evening.

Many times I have seen her husband sitting in his truck in front of the church waiting for her, as she never learned to drive. After Pop died, I had the opportunity of helping to drive Frances to her various activities.  Frances served in the choir for many years and she loved to attend the party functions that the chancel choir periodically had. During the choir get-togethers, she never failed to have a story or a joke to share as her part of the event.

Many of us can still see and remember where she sat every Sunday after she retired from the choir. Facing the altar, she sat on the north side of the sanctuary, on the left side, next to the first column, near the window. She kept her Bible and hymn book there from Sunday to Sunday, and no one bothered them, for they were for Frances Aldana. She was always dressed properly for church with her A-line dresses, white gloves, and her costume jewelry. She expected others to be properly dressed in their church clothes, and she would remind them if they were not.

Frances will always be remembered for her talent of flower-arranging for the altar, which she was responsible for, more years than I can remember. Her beautiful arrangement of Easter lilies in the front of the church was always special. She could take any kind of fresh or not-so-fresh flowers and make a masterpiece of them for the altar. Frances was always faithful in preparing the serving table and coffee for the parlor on Sunday mornings, until the years caught up with her and her body didn’t have the strength.

PINK was the color that Frances was so partial to, and that maybe is why Valentine’s Day was always so special to her. Her collection of large, fancy, laced Valentines was memorable, and she loved to show and to share them. Many UMW February meetings had the counter filled with a display of Frances’ Valentine collection. She was a faithful member of Rebecca Circle, even in later years when her hearing was so poor. She served as leader of this circle, especially as worship coordinator. She was always on the telephone, checking on the shut-ins or those of poor attendance to see how they were doing or if she could help them in any way.

Trees of all manner were another of Frances’ great loves. She had them planted all around her home, and she protected the two big fir trees and large lilac bushes on the north of the (then) church lawn. Any time anyone suggested trimming or doing anything to them, she raised a ruckus. Frances was devastated when the lilacs were taken out and the limbs on the trees were raised. Her voice was heard, but time doesn’t stand still and improvements were needed.

In September of 1995, Frances Aldana was 100 years old, and her family and church friends helped her celebrate in the church parlor with a large reception. Of course, Frances sat in a seat of honor and greeted her many friends in a lovely pink dress and corsage of pink flowers. There are many stories that could be told about Frances, but these are some of my memories.

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