font size  A A

Frances Ellis

Frances Ellis Frances Ellis, whose passions for travel and learning were exceeded only by her love for family, died Thursday, August 15, 2019, at the Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. She was 95.

Fran was born December 17, 1923, in Culver, Kansas, to Willis F. Brenner Sr. and Grace (McKean) Brenner, of Culver, Kansas, a small town northwest of Salina, Kansas.

A child of the Great Depression, Fran grew up on a farm knowing how to get the most out of everything she owned, a trait she retained throughout her lifetime.

After graduating from Culver High School in 1941 and teaching school for a brief time, Fran and her two sisters, Lois and Anna Mae, left the plains of Kansas for Long Beach, Calif., where they helped manufacture airplanes at the Douglas Aircraft Company during World War II.

In delightful letters to their parents and little brother back home, they chronicled their many adventures as they went to movies, visited the beach and helped forever change the nation's workforce that had previously been dominated by men.

Fran subsequently served in the WAVES with the United States Navy until 1946 and then went on to attend Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science from 1946 to 1949 and graduated with a B.S. degree in Biological Science in May, 1949. There she met fellow student Roscoe Ellis, Jr., the love of her lifetime.

The couple married June 1, 1949, and Roscoe became a longtime agronomy professor at K-State. The couple had four children, Darrel, Garold, Randall, and Warren.

Fran poured herself into raising those boys, cheering them on at little league games, serving as a Cub Scout den mother and coming to their rescue whenever they had questions about homework.

Planning summer vacations was one of her great joys. Sometimes they were to places of great beauty like the Colorado mountains and Yellowstone National Park. Other times they were to educational places like Williamsburg, Va., or the childhood homes of presidents.

In a nod to the interests of her sports-minded boys, she often penciled in trips to the great college athletic venues of the United States, like the basketball arenas for UCLA and the University of Kentucky and the football stadiums for Ohio State University and the University of Southern California. Those trips would include trips to campus bookstores where the boys often bought university logo t-shirts, which became proud parts of their back-to-school wardrobes.

Fran was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, KSU Social Club, Bible Study, and the League of Women Voters.

She was preceded in death by her parents, by her husband, Roscoe, who died September 9, 1982, and by her brother, Harold Brenner, and her sisters, Lois Bearnes, and Anna Mae Brenner.

She is survived by her four children: Darrel, and his fiancé Liz of Nashville, Tenn.; Gary and his wife Paula of Manhattan; Randy and his wife Shirley of Edmond, Okla.; and Warren of Manhattan; a brother, Willis F. Brenner, Jr., of Sioux Falls, S.D., three grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will greet friends during a visitation from 6:30 until 8:00 p.m. Friday August 23, 2019 at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.

Funeral Services will be on Saturday, August 24, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, Kansas, with burial in the Sunrise Cemetery following the funeral service.

Memorial contributions for the Frances Ellis Memorial Fund may be made to the Kansas State University Foundation (Fund M47272) 1800 Kimball Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, or may also be left with or sent to the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home at 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502. The memorial fund has been established to provide for student scholarships at Kansas State University.

Online condolences may be left through the funeral home website at

Family Login

Incorrect password