Francis von Essen, 84, of Felton, formerly of Long Island, N.Y., passed away Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
Francis was born May 3, 1928, in Brooklyn, N.Y. to the late Matthew and Myra Chard Ryder. In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by her husband, Stanley W. von Essen Sr. in 2005; and a brother, Donald Ryder.
She and her husband relocated to Delaware in 1968. She was a homemaker, raising three children of her own and taking care of her family, but she was also the proud foster mother to 40 boys and one girl. Two of them were very special and remained in her life, Walter Alberts and wife Paula of Clayton, and Robert Longfellow and his wife, Jo Ann of Smyrna. She was a member of the South Side Baptist Church in Camden. She also belonged to the Doll House Club.
She loved helping her husband on the vegetable farm and also canning. She enjoyed painting lighthouse scenery in oil and acrylic paint.
She is also survived by her children, Stanley von Essen Jr. and his wife Linda of Felton, Ruth Marshall and her husband John of Millsboro, and Joseph Triola of Florida; sisters Gloria Beavers and Elizabeth Maschi; seven grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends, including her special lady friends from the South Side Baptist Church.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at Watson Funeral Home, 211 S. Washington St., Millsboro, where friends may call after 11 a.m. Burial will follow at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Millsboro.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Gideons International, PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.