Stillwater News Press


August 21, 2013

Frances Staff

Frances Staff passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, in Stillwater at the age of 97.  She was born in Altus, Ark., in 1916 to Winnifred Naomi and Idus Preston Willingham. Shortly after she was born, her family moved to Kenta, where she attended school and graduated from Kenta High School. She also attended Northeastern College in Tahlequah and Oklahoma State University. She married Dr. Fredrick Peter Staff on Nov. 15, 1934, in Stigler. They lived in Kenta for several years, where her husband had established a medical practice. In 1937, Dr. Staff moved his practice to Stratford, where they resided for 22 years and had two children, Connie Rose and Fredrick Preston. In 1954, the family moved to Pawnee, where Dr. Staff entered into a partnership with Dr. P.R. Reimer to build the Pawnee Osteopathic Hospital. After Dr. Staff retired in 1975, he and Frances moved to Stillwater to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.

In addition to being a loving wife, mother and grandmother, she assisted her husband in the medical practice for many years. She also worked as a floral designer for The Pawnee Flower Shop, a precinct worker for Pawnee and Payne counties and as a Mary Kay consultant. She was an active member of the First United Methodist Church where she served as a Stephens Minister, choir member and Sunday school teacher. She was also a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Oklahoma State Osteopathic Association, Extension Homemakers Club, Eastern Star, PEO, Stillwater Travel Club and may other social, fraternal and civic organizations. Several of her passions in life were traveling and basketball. She lettered in women’s basketball at Kenta High and regularly attended women’s basketball games at OSU until her health began to fail.

She is preceded in death by her parents; husband; twin brothers, Thomas and Arthur Willingham; sisters, Mary Canon and Elsie Goodman; and a grandson, Chris Stiegler, and his wife, Jenny.  She is survived by her daughter, Connie, and husband, Jim Stiegler, of Stillwater; son, Fred, and his wife, Elizabeth, of La Paz, Bolivia; granddaughter, Stephanie and husband, Scott Neill, of Flower Mound, Texas; and great grandchildren, Spencer, Addison, and Preston Neill, and Emily Stiegler.  Frances will be remembered for her warm smile, kind loving heart, her laughter and her love of life, family and friends.    

Her funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at the Strode Funeral Home Chapel in Stillwater with the Rev. Kyle Anderson of the First United Methodist Church officiating. Interment will be in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Ada.

Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church or to the Oklahoma Educational Foundation for Osteopathic Medicine at Condolences may be sent to the family and an online obituary viewed at

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