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Frances Mae Shiplett

Frances Mae Shiplett

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CARBONDALE — Frances Mae Gourley Shiplett, 88 years young, passed away at 5:55 p.m. Friday, July 17, 2020, at home surrounded by her family.

Frances was born on Sept. 25, 1931, in Buncombe, to Rudy and Nova (Hunsaker) Gourley.

She was united in marriage to Joe Shiplett on Aug. 22, 1953, in Buncombe. Together they shared nearly 56 years of marriage before Joe's death in 2009.

Frances fulfilled numerous achievements throughout her life. She holds a bachelor of music degree from University of Illinois, Urbana, and a master of music degree from Southern Illinois University (received while she was working full time and raising five children).

She enjoyed a 35-year career as a music educator. Most of those years were in Carbondale's District 95. Every child in Carbondale knew the words to “This Land is Your Land,” “Fifty Nifty United States,” and “God Bless America,” which ended most of her spring sings. She retired from teaching in 1992 and enjoyed 28 years of retirement. Before the passing of her husband, Joe, they traveled the world, having visited six continents. Frances achieved her goal of visiting all seven continents in 2010.

She attended the First United Methodist Church in Carbondale, where she sang in the choir, played in the bell choir, and counted the collection most Sundays.

Between her “lunch bunch” and her “nickel putter's club” and attending cultural and sports events, she led a very active life. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Sigma Alpha Iota.

She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include her children, Susan Shiplett Ashbaker of Princeton, New Jersey, Chuck Shiplett (Gina) of Sparta, Tennessee, Carol Manis (Bill) of Murphysboro, Patti Exstein (Ted) of Idstein, Germany, and Barb Shiplett (Betty Montgomery) of Carbondale; eight grandchildren, Bryan Manis (Lisa) of Kentucky, Steven Manis (Savannah) of Texas, Jennifer Birkner (Adam) of McLeansboro, Katie Vaught (Ernie) of Virginia, Mallory Shiplett of Kentucky, Adam Exstein of Virginia, August Ashbaker (Amber Ahronian) of Boston, and Ben Exstein of Virginia; four great-grandchildren, Bryleigh and Cash Manis of Texas and Abigail and Oliver Manis of Kentucky.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; her brother, Robert Gourley; and one granddaughter, Lindsey Nicole Ashbaker.

A private memorial service will be conducted for the immediate family. A celebration of life, hosted by her family, will be conducted in Carbondale in the future when we are all able to safely gather together again.

The preferred form of remembrance is through donations to First United Methodist Church Music Department, the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Illinois, or Residential Hospice.

A special note from her family: "Thank you, mom for your unconditional love. For being that warm light we can bask in and gravitate to in good times or bad. Your steadiness and support has buoyed each one of us through our challenges in life. We know you are there as our life raft, carrying us to solid ground when the ground beneath us is wavering and unsteady. Thank you for making this world a better place, simply by being you. We can carry on, knowing all you have showed us, taught us, and instilled in us will be within us forever. Your light and love will always be in our hearts, your presence will be felt each time we show kindness toward others, and the whisper of the wind, singing in the trees, will remind us of your music. These lasting legacies will be cherished and passed on to the next generations. Your light will burn bright forever."

"Mom will be greatly missed."

To view the obituary or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit

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