FRANCES ELIZABETH CHAMBLESS NEUGENT
March 17, 1925 – October 27, 2020
Frances Elizabeth Chambless Neugent died October 27, 2020 surrounded by her three daughters after a long and fulfilling life. Frances Elizabeth was born to Rosa Pierce Spiller Chambless and Daniel Ira Chambless in Fayette County, Alabama, on March 17, 1925. Frances and her beloved brothers, LC Fondren and David Chambless, were raised by their strong, enterprising and courageous mother and the large extended Spiller family after their father died when Frances was six years old at the same time the Great Depression destroyed the nation’s economy.
Frances graduated from Fayette County Schools in 1943 and began working soon thereafter as the buildup to World War II dominated international news and brought the devastation of the war to her family and friends. In the late 1940s, she moved to Atlanta to work for the First National Bank of Atlanta and while there met John Vickers Neugent who was soon to complete law school at Emory University. They married on Christmas Eve, 1950, in Fayette, Alabama, then returned to his native Georgia and to build a home, a family and a life of civic involvement. Daughters Susan Elizabeth, named after Frances’s maternal grandmother; Vickie Lee, named after Vickers and his aunt; and Shirley Rose, named after Vickers’s cousin and Frances’s mother, filled their home with love, activity, curls, and beautiful dresses as well as dogs, cats, horses, fish and turtles. As the girls grew up, Vickers’s law practice expanded and he was elected first as Solicitor General then later as District Attorney, a post he held for twenty years. Frances was deeply involved in managing his legal and tax practice as well as his political campaigns. Many votes for Vickers were won by the admiration people had for Frances. They worked together in these efforts for twenty-five years. During this time, they also built a new home and a real estate business in North Carolina.
Recognized for her grace and dignity, Frances always looked elegantly dressed -- even when she was in the garden. Her strength of character and fortitude were masked by her ever-present warm, kind and soft-spoken manner. Her green thumb was legendary as were her homemade peach ice cream, lemon meringue and chocolate pies, lemon cheese cake, fudge and divinity, cheese straws and ladyfinger cookies. Aside from magnificent desserts, dinner was always a beautiful presentation of art and health. Her family enjoyed the bounty of the garden year-round through her deliciously preserved summer vegetables and fruit. Her energy level astonished everyone and it was not unusual during the summer for her to start her day in the garden, return home to shell peas and beans or shuck corn, arrive at the office by 8:30, return home to prepare a healthy lunch, then back to the office for the afternoon, return home to prepare a large dinner, then attend a meeting or complete office work in the evening. In her long retirement, she loved gardening, feeding and watching song-birds, playing bridge, solving crossword, jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles, and, most of all, spending time with family.
Above all other things, Frances valued her family. When her daughters married, she loved her sons-in-law as if they were sons. The extended family of her mother, brothers, their spouses and children all held special significance to her. She loved to shower attention on her four grandsons and, in later years, basked in their return attention. Never pleased when her girls brought home countless orphaned dogs and cats, later in life she embraced Max, Mamie, Callie, Chelsea, Clancy and, finally, Rosie and Coco who spent the last eleven years at her side joining her on daily walks.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father; two brothers, David Ira Chambless and LC Fondren; niece Margaret Denise Chambless; nephews Joe Everett Fondren and Roger Dale Fondren; and son-in-law Wesley Clayton Glisson. She is survived by her daughters Susan Elizabeth Neugent Clark (Dennis) of Atlanta, Vickie Lee Neugent Whigam (Michael) of Hilliard, Florida and Shirley Rose Neugent Glisson of Auburn, Alabama; grandsons John Clayton Glisson, Kyle Chambless Glisson, Perry Daniel Whigam and Lucas Clark Glisson; great-grandchildren Isaac and Tabitha Glisson; nieces Patricia Ann Chambless Kennedy and Linda Fondren Cox, nephews Daniel David Chambless and Bill Fondren; and a large extended family of great-nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m., October 31, 2020 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Fayette, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial gifts to the Pleasant Hill Cemetery Fund to Randall Nichols, 112 Columbus Street E., Fayette, AL 35555 or consider a gift toward the preservation and maintenance of your family cemetery.
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