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38001 Euclid Avenue, Willoughby, Ohio 44094

6330 Center Street, Mentor, Ohio 44060

Frances “Fran” Theresa Smith

09/11/1955 — 04/28/2022

Frances “Fran” Theresa Smith, age 66 of Willoughby, formerly of Eastlake, passed away April 28th, 2022 at University Hospitals in Cleveland. She was born September 11th, 1955 in Cleveland to the late Albert and Jeannette Smith.

She was a proud graduate of Eastlake North High School’s Class of 1973 and particularly proud of the marching band in which she played the flute. Her passion for music continued throughout her life and she had a wonderful voice to go along with her instrumental talent.

Fran started her career at St. Justin Martyr as a teacher’s aide and then worked with children and adults in special care at Deepwood and Metzenbaum schools.  She also spent a good amount of time working as a lifeguard at local pools and she really loved to swim.  Fran then went on to work in the patient care administrative support department at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland for over 16 years and finally ended her career helping children with their reading and learning skills at Painesville City Schools.  As you can see through her career choices, there was a common theme of helping people that were dealing with obstacles in their lives. This passion also spilled over into her love of foundations such as Camp Ho Mita Koda, a local camp that provides type 1 diabetic children the opportunity to enjoy the camp experience. She worked there in her younger years and later volunteered her time for the foundation. Fran also had a great love for different heritages which she expressed as a past member of the Irish American Club as well as a love of her German heritage which she always held near and dear. Her travels to Ireland and beyond were among her fondest memories. Perhaps her favorite pastime was just sitting with friends and sharing a pint while discussing whatever challenges the day brought. Many people throughout the years enjoyed her wit and intelligence in this setting.  Lastly, Fran always had a special love of animals, particularly her beloved dog Juggsy, as well as the others that came before her.

Frances is survived by her sister Jacqueline Stankus, her nephews Albert Stankus, Joe (Stacey) Stankus and Chris (Melissa) Stankus; her grand nieces Hannah and Sedona Stankus and her grand nephew Julian Stankus. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister,  Mary Alexia Smith and her brother in law, Edward Stankus.

The family will receive friends from 4:00 – 7:00 PM Monday, May 9th, 2022 at The Abbey of Willoughby, 38011 Euclid Ave. (located on the grounds of McMahon Coyne Vitantonio Funeral Home). A memorial mass will be held at 10:30 AM Tuesday, May 10th at St. Mary Magdalene Church, 32114 Vine Street, Willowick (Please meet at the church). Burial to follow at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon Twp.

Donations can be made in Fran’s honor to: Camp Ho Mita Koda 14040 Auburn Road, Newbury OH 44065

Arrangements have been entrusted to Jeff Monreal of Jeff Monreal Funeral Home & Cremation Services.


  1. Lisa Helt

    My dearest Franny, you were truly one of a kind! I’ll miss your witty personality, and all the messages we shared from time to time, thank you for being a wonderful friend, I’m glad I got to visit with you and Juggsy a little while back, I’m sure she misses you terribly. I’m glad you’re no longer suffering Rest In Peace my friend! Love you always, Lisa

    Lisa Helt
  2. Thomas Wedekind, Germany

    Liebe Fran,
    wie vereinbart schreib ich Dir wie immer in Deutsch….danke für die lieben Gespräche mit Dir. Wir sehen uns…..

    Thomas Wedekind, Germany
  3. Kathie Walsh Kintz

    Fran and I started our friendship in Bluebirds and remained friends forever. She was there for me in a bad time in my life and I am forever grateful and blessed that she was in my life. We always had lots of laughs, Irish Club fun with drill team and even a phone call. Fly high my old friend, will miss you❤️

    Kathie Walsh Kintz
  4. Jim & Brenda Pfeil

    Our mutual love of dogs brought us together, but I know you had a lot of causes that you were so passionate about. Many, many people have been touched by your kindness and compassion over the years, I think you had a big crowd of two leggeds and four-leggeds waiting for you on the other side! It brings us comfort to think of you being reunited with friends, family and pets that went before you, but you will be so very missed here! Your special wackiness and twisted sense of humor will be missed, but I will make it my mission to carry on in your honor! Rest in peace my wonderful friend, the world is truly a dimmer place without you…

    Jim & Brenda Pfeil
  5. Judy Sulzer (Solpa)

    I will cherish my memories of working with Fran at St. Justin in the late 70’s. She had an unquenchable thirst to help others and enjoy life!! She helped make those early days fun and memorable!! Rest In Peace Dear Fran!❤️

    Judy Sulzer (Solpa)
  6. Heather Morell

    Fran was my counselor at Camp Ho Mita Koda when I was young maybe 8 years old. We reconnected at the camp a few years back. She was such a beautiful soul. Thank you to her family for sharing her with the world. May God wrap his loving arms around you all in this time of grief

    Heather Morell
  7. Bobby Fatica

    The years will wipe out many things.
    One thing it will wipe out never,
    The memories of happy times,
    That we all spent together.
    Rest in pace Fran.

    Bobby Fatica
  8. Kaye Elliott

    I worked with Fran at Metzenbaum for many years.I always think of her big smile and her love for the children there. She was a truly a wonderful,caring and loving young woman. See you on the other side Fran.

    Kaye Elliott
  9. Diane Richardson

    One of a kind! All who knew her, loved her. I had the privilege of working with Fran at the Cleveland VA Medical Center and soon learned of her fun, feisty, and truly caring
    personality. Very saddened by the loss, yet thankful that she is finally pain free and at
    perfect peace. Prayers and comfort for the family during this most difficult time and much love to her sweet babe, Juggs.

    Diane Richardson
  10. James Unger

    My sister graduated in 1973. I remember her going to camp Ho Mota Koda one summer,visiting her there. R.I.P. Fran!!!!!!!

    James Unger
  11. James Unger

    My sister graduated in 1973. I remember her going to camp Ho Mita Koda one summer,visiting her there. R.I.P. Fran!!!!!!!

    James Unger
  12. Janet Bediant-Wolf

    My deepest sympathy to Fran’s family and to Juggsy, prayers and love for you. I met Fran in high school, had some classes with her and appreciated her talented in the marching band.
    She always had a good & quick wit. You will be missed, God Bless…

    Janet Bediant-Wolf
  13. Jackie Rainge

    Fran, We became Sisters through our Friendship with Alex and your Very Kind Heart through my cancer treatments. I enjoyed chatting through FB with you. Every Baby Yoda I see will forever remind me of you. Rest in Peace Big Sis and rest assure I will take good care of your little Brother Alex….Love Always

    Jackie Rainge
  14. Paulette Freed

    Fran you were a good friend. I hope you are flying high in that big marching band in the sky. Till we meet again my friend!

    Paulette Freed
  15. Mark Gifford

    High School was the best because of being your friend. Soooo many good times in such a short period of time. I’m happy we connected now and then for lunch or dinner, but not enough. Reading the other comments is so great to read about more of your great life. I will miss you but memories will live on and never be forgotten. Love you Fran. See you when I hopefully get to where I know you went 🙂

    Mark Gifford
  16. Michael Dalkowski

    Dear Fran. We never met in person but I will say, I lost a good friend. Remembering all our talks about our dogs, remembering all our debates about american and german politics and the governments. Remembering all our jokes we made. Remembering all our plans what we’ll do, when I come over the big pond for a visit or you ever would visit Germany again. Remembering all our lessons in German I gave to you and all the lessons in (correct) English you have given to me. I can’t say how sad I am all this things won’t be continued. I will miss all that, I will miss you. Thanks it was granted to me to get to know you. Liebe Fran, mach’s gut – wo immer Du jetzt bist…

    Michael Dalkowski
  17. Lisa Mulloy

    I will miss you, our talks, and sharing photos of our beagle mixes (my Andy and your Juggsy). I’m sorry we never met in person (and we lived close to each other). It still doesn’t seem real. I miss you my dear friend. Rest In Peace. ❤️

    Lisa Mulloy
  18. Denise Muehlhauser

    Dearest Franny, I am very thankful that we reconnected on FB. It all started with a “Boom lacka lacka lacka” in 1972, my first year of band camp. I remember it like yesterday, Thanks for being one of my big sis flute players!!! It was the best. We had many laughs, as did everyone that knew you. You brought so much joy & fun wherever you were. You will be missed. RIP kind girl, love you!!

    Denise Muehlhauser
  19. Sherry Boccia

    Sending my thoughts and prayers to Fran’s family
    Though I never met Fran in person I met her on Facebook through a mutual friend Alex. We shared a love of beagles and enjoyed sharing photos of our past and present pet’s.
    RIP Fran ❤️
    You will truly be missed

    Sherry Boccia

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