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January 14, 2003

Friends here have learned belatedly of the death of Mary Frances Render Golston, a colorful lady with family ties to early day Perry and a crusty but warmhearted former nursing director at Perry Memorial Hospital from 1953 to 1955. Mary Frances, who was 84, died last November 2 at the West Branch Regional Medical Center in Lupton, Michigan. She was born in Norman, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. L.O. Render, but grew up here. Her father was a dentist and a bit of a free spirit himself. Her grandmother, who largely reared Mary Frances, was Minnie Keith Bailey, a poet and women's club leader in this community for many years. The Bailey home, a regal-looking two-story Victorian frame structure, still stands at Ninth and Delaware.

In the mid-1930s Mary Frances graduated from Perry high school, where she had been a candidate for football queen, among other honors. She then chose to pursue a professional career as a registered nurse. It was one of the few fields then open to women. She served in the European Theater of Operations during World War II as a member of the Army Nurse Corps. On one occasion in England she was invited to tea with King George and family in Buckingham Palace, a sign of goodwill by the King to thank the U.S. military contingent serving there. Mary Frances felt honored to be invited to tea with the royal family, but such social affairs were of little consequence to her.

In 1953, a few years after World War II, she returned to Perry with her young daughter, Nikki, and served two years as director of nursing at the newly opened Perry Memorial Hospital. She was a good administrator and a caring nurse during her stay there. Patients and doctors alike came to appreciate her no-nonsense approach toward healing and it was always mixed with a generous measure of good humor. In her off-duty hours, she was a member of the hospital's team in the Perry Bowling League. Eventually she moved on to another position in the health care field at Leavenworth, Kansas, and for the past 21 years she was a nurse in the same sort of healing at Lupton. In addition to Nikki, who lives in Lupton, she is survived by a grandson, Andrew Golston, also of Lupton. Bailey Render, an older brother, preceded her in death.

Many friends and former patients will remember Mary Frances and her hard-boiled demeanor, always blended with a dose of down-home good humor. She was an interesting lady. We can always use her kind of attributes. She will continue to bring pleasant memories for years to come to those who knew her