Born Mary Frances Evans on July 6, 1933 in Odessa, Texas to John W. & Frances Evans. She graduated from Odessa High School in 1950 and attended Austin College in Sherman, TX as a member of the Alpha Delta Chi sorority. Mary Frances was selected Homecoming Queen in 1953 and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in 1954. It was at Austin College where she met the love of her life and the man she would spend the rest of her life with, William Paul “Chop” Van Pelt. Mary Frances passed away on February 11, 2020 in Denton, Texas. She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Richard “Dick” Evans, sister Martha Louise Evans Francell, brother-in-law Earl Francell, and nephew Garry Francell.
Our beloved Mary Frances is survived by her husband of 65 years, William Paul “Chop” Van Pelt, and two sons, John William Van Pelt & wife Mary (Beyers) of Garland, TX and Eric Paul Van Pelt & wife Cindy Ann (Eaton) of Mesilla, NM. She delighted in her grandchildren: Jonathan Van Pelt & wife Vanessa of Rockwall, TX, Alex Van Pelt & wife Kaylan of McKinney, TX, Erin Van Pelt of Lubbock, TX, Evan Van Pelt of Brighton, MA, and Cameron Van Pelt of Mesilla, NM. Mary Frances also cherished her 3 great-grandchildren: Hillary “Lily” Van Pelt, Liam Van Pelt & Sullivan Van Pelt.
Mary Frances was a talented artist & pianist. As a devout football fan, she was a willing partner in her husband Chop’s career as a high school & college football coach. Along his many stops, Mary Frances always found a position to teach art and encourage students. Her positions ranged from middle & high school levels to art professor & instructor for undergrad & graduate students on the university level. She received her master’s degree in fine arts from West Texas State University and was commissioned for public and private artwork throughout her life.
Her joy, grace and unconditional love were inspirational to all who knew her. Mary Frances was, above all, a Godly woman. She was a dedicated member of numerous Presbyterian churches in the communities she & Chop called home. She was a live-long participant in women’s “circles”, book clubs and study clubs and served several terms as a deacon. She will be truly missed by her husband, family, friends and students.
A graveside service will be held at 10 A.M., Monday, February 17, 2020 at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa, Texas. A memorial service in Denton, Texas will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation in her memory be directed to Austin College, 900 N. Grand Ave, Suite 6G, Sherman, TX 75090 www.austincollege.edu .
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