Mom was born Frances Marion Ryan on November 11, 1932 in Laurin, Montana, the second of four children born to James Patrick and Marion Kathryn Ryan. She grew up in Dillon, Montana, attending Beaverhead County High School.
Mom was an avid student and an expert typist, typing close to 100 wpm in school. During high school Mom worked at the nurse’s office typing and filing and might have become a nurse, but instead married and applied her energy and skills to being a homemaker and this made her very happy.
Mom’s future husband Benjamin R. Davis attended the same high school. Dad asked for a first date by driving up on a curb and onto the grass to get her attention, and the rest is history. Mom and Dad were married in September of 1951 in the little Episcopal church in Dillon that Mom served as altar girl in her teens and where, with her gorgeous voice, she sang in the church choir. Mom and Dad just happened to share the same birthday. And to this union were born five children: Karen, Mikel, Kathryn, Kristin and Kelsa (Kelly). Mom and Dad loved watching Bishop Sheen on TV on Sunday mornings. Dad passed away in November of 1958, leaving Mom a young widow. Shortly after, Mom moved here to Missoula for a new start and she never left. She later married Gary Gallagher. They were eventually divorced and she never remarried.
In the day, Mom loved to entertain and was known to be a fabulous cook. She dearly loved her home up the Rattlesnake, which she helped design and proudly decorated with an artistic eye. She lived in that home for fifty five years and saw her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy many wonderful times there. Mom spent a lot of time ironing for her family and every piece of clothing and bedsheets had to be “just so.” When her eyes were stronger she enjoyed doing needlepoint and made some beautiful pieces. She was also a talented watercolorist. One of her best paintings is of the bronze grizzly bear on the campus of the University of Montana. She served on Missoula Community Hospital’s Board in the 1980s, which she truly enjoyed. She loved her yard and when she was stronger was fond of weeding her little garden and doing a little raking. During the summer Mom loved to tend to her cherry tomatoes which she grew on her patio. Mom came from strong stock, as was evidenced by her long battle with lung disease. Mom had a rich, and sometimes “spicy” sense of humor which saw her through a multitude of difficult times.
Mom died peacefully at home, on March 5, 2022. She was preceded in death by Dad; son Mikel; beloved granddaughter Xondra; brother Pat; and sister Shirley.
She is survived by her sister Nora (Dave); her daughters Karen, Kathryn (Mike), Kristin, Kelly and Karrie; her grandchildren, Anna, Hunter, Lisa (Al) and Libby (Jay); her great-grand-children Eloura, Arabell and Benjamin (Dad’s namesake); and many special nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mom’s honor may be made to the American Lung Association. A private family visitation has occurred, with a celebration of life being planned for the spring.
Sweet girl, rest easy. You will be in our hearts and missed forever.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory in Missoula