Frances E. McDonnell, 97, of South Bend, IN, passed away at 12:00 p.m. Saturday, July 11, 2020, at Wellbrooke of South Bend. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward F. and Margaret (O’Brien) Mullen, and her sisters, Margaret (Peggy) Mullen and Helena Mullen.
Born on June 28, 1923, in New York, New York, Fran endured the death of her father and the Great Depression at an early age. Setting aside an early interest in art, she followed her sisters into the nursing profession. Like them, she found her vocation as a nurse.
Fran met her future husband, Joseph B. (Joe) McDonnell, at their parish church in Brooklyn, New York. With the outbreak of World War II, and Joe’s commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Fran and Joe married in 1943 in the St. Thomas More Chapel at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
After Joe’s return from service in the war overseas, and graduation from Manhattan College in 1950, Fran relocated with him and their young family to South Bend, IN. While Joe worked as a civil engineer in a private firm, and then as City Engineer for the City of Mishawaka, Fran worked as a homemaker, and an obstetric nurse at night.
After a loving marriage, Joe died suddenly in 1962, after which Fran went into nursing full-time to support their four children. She served at the Children’s Dispensary, the Red Cross, and then as a school nurse with the South Bend Community School Corporation, serving at Eggleston, Warren, Lafayette, Navarre, and Green.
In furtherance of her career, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, a Masters’ degree in Counseling, and a Master of Science in Education degree, all from Indiana University, as well as a State of Indiana Teacher’s License. She retired from this career of public service in 1988.
Along with being a wife, mother, and nurse, Fran’s richest rewards in life came from her Catholic faith. She served her church in a variety of capacities, including as a Pastoral Care Volunteer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mishawaka, on leadership teams of numerous Cursillos, and as a volunteer at her parish, St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, IN.
Fran is survived by daughters Erin McDonnell and Lauren McDonnell in South Bend, IN; sons Edward F. (Chris) McDonnell of Canton, OH, and Peter J. (Eleanor) McDonnell of North Barrington, IL. She is also survived by five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Fran’s family wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to St. Pius X priests who ministered to her while she was at Wellbrooke, and to Legacy Lane and other Wellbrooke staff who cared for her with such devotion and compassion to the end of her earthly life.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 Fir Road, Granger, IN 46530. The funeral Mass will be available for livestream at StPius.net and facebook.com/StPiusGranger. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to St. Pius X Catholic Church (at the address above, or https://www.stpius.net/giving), or to Wellbrooke of South Bend, at 52565 Indiana 933, South Bend, IN 46637.
Kaniewski Funeral Home in South Bend, IN is handling the arrangements. To send online condolences, please visit http://www.kaniewski.com