Frances Phillips Schools
Frances Phillips Schools was born on May 3, 1929 in Hudson, NY to Maude Mugford and Byron Phillips.
She had a mind of her own right from the start and talked often of how much trouble she was to her poor mother. She was blessed with 3 siblings - Margaret who tried to rule the roost, Nancy who was perfect unless you stole her homework or her laid out clothes for the day and, when she was 8, her little brother Barry who she spoiled until his lovely wife Cilene took him off to Australia. She suffered the loss of her father at age 10 and missed him and his brilliant mind her whole life.
Frances was a girl who loved books, learning, music, people, family, God and laughter. She loved being on the creek and hanging out with her sisters and friends. She knew what she wanted most was to be a wife and mother but, even as a child, she was called to selling. At 6 she sold seeds or garden vegetables up and down the street to make money. As a young mother she sold World Book Encyclopedia so that she could get the free set. She graduated from Kinderhook School at the tender age of 16 and went to work for the state -a job she hated.
In 1948 she married Henry Knitt Schools and they started a family. Timmy, Bevy, Carl and Jon filled her days with cooking and sewing, camping and homework help. She and Henry shared their passion for learning with the kids and exposed them to hard work, life lessons, a strong faith and lots of fun. Their extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins made for many holiday gatherings and enough love to last forever.
Frances was baptized in the Hudson Methodist Church and went on to play the piano and organ at Stuyvesant Falls Dutch Reformed Church where she was also a very active member holding many roles of leadership.
She would only work when her kids were in school so she was a waitress for many years at Kozel’s Restaurant where she formed lifelong friendships with the family. She believed in hard work and did what she had to. She sewed, took in laundry, served the community and helped anyone who needed it. She made food for Election Day, coached Little League, rang bells for the Salvation Army and bought a Hot Dog Bus which she loved. She took care of her mother and grandmother and Hank’s parents as well, believing it was the most important thing she could do with her time and teach her children. The house was filled with books and music, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews and anyone who wanted to sit and drink Coke with her. As her children grew and flew the nest she went into Real Estate, first with Irving Price in Hudson and then opening Old Ghent Realty in The Bartlett House in Ghent.
She loved real estate and became a preeminent leader in the field. Each of her kids worked with her in the beginning. As her business prowess grew, and her reputation with it, family, her coworkers and her trusted and treasured secretary, all helped move the business to become a highly respected force in Columbia and surrounding counties. Old Ghent Realty is carried on by sons Timothy and Carl, long time Broker Pam, and Cindy and Sam who lends her creative talent to all advertising and publications. She took great pride in selling houses here. She also treasured the people she met along the way and the friends who continued to be a part of her life, celebrating birthdays and sitting on the porch to reminisce and visit.
In 1968 the journey of being a grandmother began and she, along with Henry, welcomed each grandchild with open arms cherishing them for who they were. They appreciated each ones talents and skills, interests and later, careers. They went to recitals and ball games, graduations and weddings. They supported them through divorces and step kids who they loved equally. Their grandchildren celebrated life with them and sat at their bedsides when they passed, Poppy in 1999 and Gramma Frannie on July 22nd.
Frances will be remembered for her generosity of spirit and resources, her work ethic and her dedication to her family and community. She died peacefully surrounded by loved ones who each got to whisper their devotion and love in her ear.
She will be missed but our memories of her will bring more laughter than tears. Thank you for all you gave to others, Frances. Thank you from all of us.