Frances Fisher, Obituary


Frances Townsend Fisher, known as Frankie, Frances, or Gran by many, passed away peacefully on Sept 18th, 2023 after 98 years of living an excellent life. She is survived by her daughter, Beth High; son, Steve Fisher; her grandchildren; Georgia High, Evan High, Audrey Fisher, Shaw Fisher, Renee Fisher and Kinsey Fisher; plus ten godchildren.

Frankie was preceded in death by two of her children; her eldest daughter, Hester; and eldest son, Brad; as well as their father and her beloved husband, Rollin Bradshaw Fisher.

One of seven children, Frankie was born in 1925 to William Shippen and Frances Riker Davis. She spent her childhood in New York, and summers at a family compound on Long Pond, near Plymouth, Massachusetts. She attended The Brierley School and then Smith College. It was there that she met Rollin, fondly known as Rollo. They raised their four children together in St. Louis, Missouri. Not only a loving wife and dedicated mother, she was also an elementary school librarian for many years. Reading and learning were her passions. Her curiosity about the world, current events, nature and politics never ceased, even as she celebrated her 98th birthday last April.

In 1984, Frankie and Rol moved to Chapel Hill to be near their three adult children. Rollin passed away in 1990, but Frankie lived on and bloomed wherever she was planted. Whether it be at Fearrington Village or at Carolina Meadows, she relished the small pleasures of life, such as knitting colorful socks, spending time with her children and grandchildren, collecting newspaper clippings, writing cards to her loved ones, chatting with members of her community, and visiting art exhibitions anywhere possible. From volunteering for Meals on Wheels to doing water aerobics, Frankie was always in forward motion, with grace and gratitude at the helm.

Frankie moved to Chicago to be with Larry Howe in 2012, where they divided their time between coastal Maine and Chicago. After Larry’s death in 2016, she returned to Chapel Hill where she happily resided in Carolina Meadows for the remainder of her life, surrounded by her loving family and community.

Frankie left her mark on everyone who met her. She was generous, gentle, and always looking at the bright side of life. She was athletic, health minded, and conscientious. She was patient, kind, articulate, and funny. When asked what it takes to make a relationship last, she said “Be a good picker and a good sticker!” She endured so much loss, yet her keen appreciation for what remained never waned. She was an inspiration to all who knew her, a bright star that will forever shine its light down on us to absorb and put to good use.

The family will announce celebration(s) of her amazing life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to UNC Hospice (

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