February 20, 1925 - April 9, 2016
Bernice Nadine Webber Francis was born February 20, 1925, in Cold Springs, Oklahoma, to Santford and Erie Emma Rose Webber and died April 9, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. Services will be held in Dallas, Texas, at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 29, 2016, at Royal Lane Baptist Church, 6707 Royal Lane.
Nadine was the sixth child and fourth daughter of seven children. She was predeceased by her parents, five siblings and former husband Edgar Burnett Francis of Odessa, Texas. She graduated from Mountain Park High School, Mountain Park, Oklahoma, and attended business college in Oklahoma City, where she met her future husband at church. She married Naval Air Pilot Lt. Edgar Francis in a surprise double wedding in Hertford, North Carolina, June 24, 1944, and they honeymooned in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, before she followed him to California until his deployment as a PBY Catalina seaplane navigator off the coast of Japan. While in California Nadine recognized that Okies were not welcome in California, so she claimed to be from Kansas or Missouri while she was there. She lived with her mother in Mountain Park, Oklahoma, until her husband’s return and their move in 1946 to Lexington, Kentucky, with Linda, their first of three daughters.
Nadine and her family, which by then included two more daughters, Sharon and Aubin, moved to Odessa, Texas, in 1952, where her husband Edgar went into the real estate and insurance business. After a few years, Nadine began working for the Ector County Clerk’s Office, first selling vehicle license tags in temporary offices and later becoming a full-time employee. Later Nadine earned her real estate and insurance agent licenses and for several years worked for B and B Oilfield Construction in Odessa.
After the birth of her fourth child and only son Ed in 1958, Nadine turned to politics, first becoming a local and then a regional organizer for the Republican Party of Texas. This was the early days of the modern Republican Party in Texas. Nadine was deeply committed to creating a strong two-party state. She was twice elected to serve as a Texas delegate to the Republican National Convention and she served on the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC).
Nadine worked on the state campaign staffs of Texas’ first Republican senator and first Republican governor since Reconstruction, Senator John Tower and Governor William P. (Bill) Clements, Jr. She was also active in the West Texas campaigns of then Congressman George H.W. Bush for the US Senate and Senator Barry Goldwater for President, among many others.
Nadine moved to Austin in 1977 to join the Texas campaign staff of US Senator John Tower. In 1978 Nadine managed the Odessa Campaign Office for George W. Bush when he ran for US Congress from West Texas, his first campaign for office, while she also served on the state campaign staff for Clements for Governor. Following the inauguration of Governor Bill Clements in 1979 Nadine began working as a field organizer in the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services.
In 1983 Nadine moved to Waco where she developed Customer Services for the Private Bank of then RepublicBank Waco (now Bank of America). While in Waco she also was working with the late Phil Strickland, Director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, to organize Texas Baptists Committed, a successful movement to protect the independence of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from takeover by the political forces overtaking the Southern Baptist Convention.
Nadine returned to Austin in 1986 as the first Field Development Officer for Buckner Baptist Benevolences, now Buckner International. She was particularly involved in developing resources for the Buckner Boys Ranch and Camp Buckner, a Baptist retreat center, both near Burnet, Texas, as well as a retirement center and nursing home in Austin. She retired from Buckner in 1994 and moved to Granbury, Texas, to be near her late brother Selwyn Webber and his late wife Rosamond Webber, formerly of Odessa, Texas. In 1998 Nadine sold her Granbury home and moved to Dallas to be near her family.
Although Nadine grew up in a Baptist household, her father had been disfellowshipped from the Mountain Park Baptist Church due to his dancing. It was not until she was a young adult that Nadine professed her faith and was baptized into the fellowship of Trinity Baptist Church, Oklahoma City. From that time a faithful Baptist, Nadine has been a member of Porter Memorial Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky; Belmont, Crescent Park and First Baptist churches of Odessa; and River Bend, Highland Park and First Baptist churches of Austin. Nadine has been a member of Royal Lane Baptist Church since 1998.
Nadine is survived by her younger sister Erie Elaine (Lanie) Pereboom and her husband Eugene Pereboom of Prescott, Arizona, as well as three daughters and one son: Linda Cross of San Antonio, Sharon Vickrey and her husband Raymond Vickrey of Dallas, Aubin Petersen and her husband Mark Petersen of Arlington, and Ed Francis and his wife Linda Francis, also of Dallas. Nadine is survived by ten grandchildren: Christen Cross of San Antonio; John Cross and his wife Sarah Cross of Mansfield; Blake Vickrey of Dallas; Will Canon and his wife Nell Canon of Santa Monica, California; Garrett Vickrey and his wife Cameron Vickrey of San Antonio; Mallory Shelton and her husband Barrett Shelton of Dallas; Molly Francis, Kathleen Francis, Rebecca Francis and Julie Francis, all of Dallas; five great-grandchildren: Madison and Emma Cross; and Finley, Zetta and Sloane Vickrey; several nieces and nephews, including Karen Gold of Granbury; Stephenie Colston and her spouse Debra Weaver of Tallahassee, Florida; Janelle Payne and Santford Webber of Davis, Oklahoma; and Douglas Pereboom of West Palm Beach, Florida, Victor Pereboom of Prescott, Arizona, and Gregory Pereboom of Salt Lake City, Utah; great-nephew Jim Cook of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and great-nieces Janet Corley of Norman, Oklahoma, and Barbara Swinton of Oklahoma City.
Her family suggests memorial gifts may be made to Royal Lane Baptist Church, 6707 Royal Lane, Dallas, Texas 75230; VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit, Baylor Carrollton Hospital, 4343 North Josey Lane, Carrollton, Texas 75010; or to care for the children served through Buckner Children and Family Services, 700 North Pearl Street, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75201.
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252