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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Frances W. Haynie
May 21, 1918 - December 7, 2021

Public Events and Locations

Funeral Mass - Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 12:00 PM at St. Rose of Lima Church, North Wales


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 501 Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090 - 215-659-0911 - Map
Clergy - St. Rose of Lima Church - 428 South Main Street, North Wales, PA 19454 - 215-699-4617 - Map
Donation - Foundation Fighting Blindness - 6925 Oakland Mills Road #701, Columbia, MD 21045 - 800-683-5555 - Map

Frances W. "Fran" Haynie of Lansdale, Pennsylvania died Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at Brittany Pointe Estates. She was 103 years old. Fran was born May 21, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York, daughter of the late Felix Casimir Witkowski and the late Caroline Witkowski (nee - Stewart).

She is the beloved wife of the late Paul P. Haynie; mother of the late Frances Caso and her husband Bill, Paul P. Haynie, Jr. and his wife Joy, Theodore Haynie and his wife Karen; grandmother of Stephanie Caso Weller and her husband Brett, Andrew Caso and his wife Nathalie, Paul Caso, Julie Caso Rossini and her husband Mike, Elise Haynie Martin and her husband Patrick, Alexander Haynie and his wife Ana, Kristin Haynie Gilbert and her husband John, Mary Haynie Reardon and her husband Brian, Caroline Haynie Buckley and her husband Thomas, and Paul Haynie III; great-grandmother of 21.

Relatives and friends were invited to her Funeral Mass on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 12:00 P.M. at St. Rose of Lima Church, 428 South Main Street, North Wales, PA 19454.

Religious services were conducted by family friend Msgr. David Diamond pastor of St. Cornelius Church in Chadds Ford, PA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Foundation Fighting Blindness, 6925 Oakland Mills Road, #701, Columbia, MD 21045. Donations may be mailed directly to P.O. Box 45740, Baltimore, MD 21297.

The following obituary was composed by Fran’s son Ted:


Frances Kathleen Witkowski Haynie, daughter of Felix Casimir Witkowski and Caroline Stewart, began her journey in Brooklyn, New York, on May 21, 1918, roughly a year before the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War I.

Her years on earth paralleled the twentieth century’s momentous events, and they affected her in major and minor ways. The pandemic of 1918, the Depression, World War II, Vietnam, the Women’s Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, a trip to the moon and back, harnessing nuclear power, the development of computers and cell phones, and the current pandemic—she experienced all these occurrences. It’s revealing that, when asked what advancement was most important in her lifetime, she responded, “The clothes dryer.” Her answer represented Freedom, like many of the other markers of the century.

Let’s look at some anecdotes and quotations that capture, in a small way, who Grammy was.

She embodied five people over time. She started as the young girl, pretty but shy. She spoke about her lack of confidence in school and her just taking it when her older sister bullied her. She was so modest that she wouldn’t use some personal words, like “armpit” which for her became “a.p.” and “pregnant” which she spelled out as “p-r-e-g.” At the time of her birth, men made most decisions. In fact, one year to the day after she came into this world, the United States House of Representatives agreed to allow women to vote.

The young girl became the wife when she was twenty-three and she married Paul Haynie. Paul and Frances could not be married inside the church because he wasn’t Catholic, so they made their vows on the porch of the rectory of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in the Mount Washington section of Baltimore. Interestingly, Paul’s mother wouldn’t give him permission to marry, so the couple had to wait for him to turn twenty-one, which he did on Monday, December 15, 1941. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, December 17. You have already probably figured out that this was ten days after Pearl Harbor. He left for the military almost immediately.

But the new bride showed her courage and followed him around the South, to navigator school in Texas, to bombardier school in Florida, back to Texas where he became a co-pilot of B-25 Mitchell bombers. He flew twenty-six missions over Italy and Germany. In the meantime, Frances took trains and buses in order to stand by her man. Recall that this was before cell phones, before credit cards, before air conditioning. Just slender Fran, completely on her own, staying in rented rooms and boarding houses. She had very little money, and she often had to depend on the kindness of strangers. She told the harrowing story about a minister who rented her a room in west Texas who decided to make himself at home in her room. She escaped without her coat and suitcase and ran to the bus station where two soldiers listened to her plight and rescued her by going back to the minister’s place and retrieving her stuff. Perhaps the independent traveling and brave adventures led to her next change.

In the very early ‘60’s, assertiveness took over. This we can see as phase three. While she wasn’t exactly “I am woman, hear me roar,” she didn’t take garbage off anybody. Note that this preceded the Women’s Movement. Before Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, Frances, believe it or not, started wearing pants! She took her three children by the hands and, after announcing, “I was not put here to be your servant,” showed them how to use the washing machine, the iron, and the oven.

One time, she literally pulled her anesthetized son out of a dentist’s chair because she didn’t appreciate the way the dentist spoke to her about a procedure. And she started joining. She played cards in a bridge club, she became an officer of the ladies’ club, and she took courses at the community college and library. This was not the timid Frannie anymore.

One Saturday afternoon, back when Catholics received the sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, she encountered a priest who gave her a hard time right in the confessional. She ripped him. “What is your name?” she shouted as she stormed out of the box. She reported him to the bishop. That’s assertive! She also wrote to Norman Lear, a television sitcom writer, and told him he was debasing our culture. Once she sent a bill to a dentist who kept her waiting over an hour. “My time is as valuable as yours,” she wrote. The dentist sent her a check.

Speaking of medicine, she “didn’t do” doctors. With the exception of a benign lump she had excised from her breast, she never went to the doctor. Pretty much from the birth of her third child in 1950 until she had to pass a physical in order to move into Normandy Farms in 1997, she was “doctor free.” Never a drop of alcohol nor a cigarette touched her lips. And she never exercised. Oh yes, when she needed that physical, she shopped around until she found a doctor who would give her a physical without touching her. She found one, and she moved into the retirement home seven years after Paul died, after forty-nine years of marriage.

Fran morphed into grandmother-hood. Phase four. Her three children gave her ten grandchildren and she enjoyed her relationships with the next generations. She became Grammy because she wanted to be named after an award. For all the years as a grandmother, even the thirteen years she lived in Bel Air, a fancy-schmancy section of Los Angeles, she kept up her status as Grammy, the interested, witty senior citizen. She didn’t simply make small talk; she competed in conversations. Whether the topic was Bill Clinton feeling our pain or illegal immigration or fast cars, she had an opinion. If you disagreed with her, she might call you a jackass.

In this phase, she remained lively. She enjoyed home decorating to the point of attending carefully to what color the covers of books were on her shelves and how bright colors drew a visitor’s eye. She also drove around looking for just the right knick-knack. She also read biographies voraciously. It was not uncommon for her to chime into a conversation and say, “Yes, I read about his life. Did you know he had polio as a child?” or something akin to that.

Frances always made a big deal of how appreciative she was for a little attention, like when Kristie made her a collage of family photos, or when David Martin moved a lamp closer so she could see something better, or when Dave Burnett stopped by for a visit, or when a gentlemen caller at Normandy would share his dark chocolate, or when Mrs. Whatshername would drop off the daily newspaper for Gram to read. Gratitude was her strong suit.

After Paul died, Joe, a gentleman from Baltimore called Frances and asked if she would join him for lunch. His chauffeur drove him up the two hours and picked up Frances. They went to the William Penn Inn a couple of times and he, being a widower, asked her to marry him. “Of course not,” she said. She enjoyed some reminiscing but she wasn’t about to remarry. Later on, she let on that he had offered to give each of her three children one million dollars if she would marry him. No dice.

In 1982, she started wearing that yellow hat. You have probably never seen her without it. She preferred her appearance when she wore it. You don’t like it? Too bad.

Her favorite places? Spring Lake, where she beach-walked with Paul. New York City, where she went to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Tiffany’s with Paul. Santa Monica bluff, where she would watch the sun set over the Pacific with Paul. See a pattern?

Phase five gradually kicked in when she stopped driving in 2012 at age ninety-four. For the last several months of her driving, she wouldn’t make a left turn; she thought a high percentage of accidents occurred when someone was making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic. So, she would drive way out of the way to avoid making a left. Typical Grammy. When she put down the car keys, she had less freedom, fewer opportunities to get out, a more sedentary life. Then in 2015 an old woman driving an electric cart at her retirement village ran into her and she fell and broke her hip. Even though Frances couldn’t walk anymore, she kept up her spirits, ready to laugh, ready to spar verbally with her caretakers and visitors. She refused medications, paid attention to current events, and looked forward to the next time she would see Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson. Near the end there was a slower Grammy, but she still offered comments worth listening to: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and believe me, rich is better.” Or, her standard response when asked how she was feeling, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Or, when Jonathan, a caretaker where she lived would visit, “I love Thursdays because Jonathan comes and brings me communion.” Or, when boredom would overtake her because of the isolation of covid, “I’m sick of the racket.”

So, Frances, Fran, Grammy moved through her life with style and gratefulness and courage and faith. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t be here. One hundred and three pretty good years. Not bad, not bad at all.

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