Frances McNamee
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Obituary for Frances McNamee

Frances Therese McNamee, 77, of Cartersville, Georgia passed away peacefully at the Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, January 22, 2010. Fran was born in Greenpointe, New York in the borough of Brooklyn, which is known to many New Yorkers as “Little Poland.” She was raised by her mother and father, John and Victoria Richards, among their family and friends of Polish heritage in the town of St. Albans, New York before the town became famous for many black jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and many others.

During high school, Fran expressed a strong interest in becoming a veterinarian, but the possibilities for women from working class families during the early fifties were limited. After completing high school, Fran worked as a secretary in several concerns, but the family was always most interested in her stories about working on the “Manhattan Project,” the U.S. War Department’s top secret race to build a nuclear weapon to end World War II.

Fran Richards met her future husband of fifty-five years, Ed McNamee, at a Catholic Church youth social while Ed was on shore leave from the Merchant Marines. Ed was expecting to fly back to California within a few days to join his next ship, but instead he quit sea-going to court Fran for a year before they were engaged and married in 1955 in New York. Fran and Ed McNamee lived in Long Island, New York for a few years before moving to Miami, Florida where Ed established an appliance repair business and eventually became a vocational education teacher for Dade County, Florida.

Fran’s life-long passion was raising, showing, and judging dogs – especially her favorite breed, Collies. Fran received her credentials for judging Collies from the American Kennel Club in 1997. She continued to build her credentials for judging other breeds and earned her license for the entire Herding Group in 2009. Fran and Ed bred numerous champion dogs and worked tirelessly for over fifty years breeding and showing Collies, German Shepherds, Afghan Hounds, and other breeds. They also helped fellow breeders improve their knowledge and raise awareness of best practices in ethical breeding standards.

Close friends and family of Fran all knew that she had a “seven-year itch” to move; she and Ed moved from Long Island to Miami, Florida in the early sixties, moved to northern Dade County several years later, bought their first home in Opa-Locka, Florida in 1965, built a home in Fort Lauderdale in 1976, built their first retirement home in Heflin, Alabama around 1996, moved to Cartersville, Georgia in 1998, and were in the middle of building a new home on the Chesapeake Bay in Matthews, Virginia when Fran passed away.

While some would ask when she would really settle down and retire, Fran would have none of it. She loved taking care of her dogs early each morning, and before going to sleep, she loved keeping in touch with others who shared her passion for dogs. Fran was always looking forward to what was next whether it was a new home, a little vacation, getting dressed up to go out, or finding a new recipe to try for Ed.

Fran is survived by her husband, Ed; her son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Pam McNamee; her daughters and son-in-law, Kathleen and Bob Schuknecht and Lynda Giuliani; and two grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be held to celebrate Fran’s life on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Cartersville, Georgia. Fran will be inurned in the McNamee family section at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society ( to support people living with cancer as are Fran’s daughters, Kathleen and Lynda.

Parnick Jennings Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 430 Cassville Rd., Cartersville, GA 30120 is serving the family of Frances McNamee.

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