Frances M. Carter

May 5, 1925 ~ August 1, 2022 (age 97)


Frances M. Carter was a well-loved teacher, community leader, world traveler and supporter of the arts.  She passed away peacefully, August 1, 2022, with her children beside her.

Born in Washington, DC, she spent her childhood exploring the museums, art galleries, historical buildings and libraries of that vibrant city.  Learning to read while still in kindergarten, Fran especially loved the library close to home, putting on her roller skates to go back and forth, carrying cherished books.

From a very early age, Fran loved school.  Her passion for learning took her to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she received her B.A. with a dual major in English and History.

Shortly after graduating, Fran married her college sweetheart, Richard Carter, a dashing young man who had served in the Army Air Corps (WWII).  The young couple moved to Mansfield, Ohio when Richard accepted a position in corporate advertising.  Their first two children, daughters Karen and Marcia, were born there.

When Richard was transferred to the Philadelphia area, they settled in the suburban town of Springfield, Delaware County where their son, Richard, Jr., was born. Fran was happy to be back on the east coast.  She now lived closer to family and the wealth of cultural activities offered by Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, DC. 

In 1967, Fran became the Director of Title IX with the Springfield School District.  This position combined her love of education and the arts with a program that incorporated music, dance and theater into the school curriculum. While running this program, Fran completed the requirements for a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.

Her first teaching position was at the elementary level, with a fourth grade class in the Chester Upland school district.  A year later, in 1969, Fran took a position at Marple-Newtown High School, teaching English and Creative Writing.  While teaching, Fran continued working on her advanced degree and received her M.A. in English Literature from West Chester University in 1972.  In 1978, after receiving her PhD. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, Fran became an adjunct faculty member at Villanova University and St. Joseph’s University, teaching Shakespeare and creative writing classes.

In 1979, Fran accepted a job with the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, coordinating many specialized educational programs in the county.  In 1989, Fran set up an educational foundation that focused on the needs of students from kindergarten through twelfth grade in the Chester, Pennsylvania school system.

Fran retired from full-time work in 1990, but continued to be a strong supporter and advocate for students – joining the national commission responsible for reviewing school standards for accreditation, writing grant requests for charter schools, and becoming President of the Girls Coalition of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Fran was also an active member of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon, elder, Clerk of Session and mentor for young confirmands.

Throughout her life, Fran’s love of travel and interest in other cultures prompted trips to countries all over the world.  She loved meeting new people and enjoying new experiences.  Her final trip abroad took her to Northern England, so she could watch the Yorkshire segment of the 2014 Tour de France.

Fran Carter was a gifted teacher, advocate, supporter of the arts, loving mother, doting grandmother and wonderful friend. She lived her life to the fullest and will be greatly missed.

A celebration of her life has been scheduled for Saturday, September 10 at 10:30 AM at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church in Swarthmore, PA.  To honor Fran, her family asks that donations in her memory be sent to the Chester Children’s Chorus.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Frances

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Celebration of Life
September 10, 2022

10:30 AM
Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
727 Harvard Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081
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