Rison woman to mark 100th birthday

RISON — Lillie Mae Chism Francis will celebrate her 100th birthday at 11 a.m. Saturday at Full Gospel Campground Church at Sheridan.

She was born March 2, 1913, at Danville, a daughter of the late Jesse and Laura Chism. She lived in Danville where she met Eual David Parson. They were married Jan. 29, 1929, in Yell County. To this union four children were born. After the death of her first husband, she met the Rev. William Simon Francis and they were married Nov. 23, 1935. They lived in Danville, Ola, Plainville, Mena, and Waldron. They also lived in Memphis and Texas. They finally settled at Rison and had 11 children together and reared 20 children.

Francis and her husband helped to build the Full Gospel Church at Sheridan and spent many days and nights there on the campgrounds, according to a family spokesman. Rev. William Francis preached the gospel, and Lallie would work in the kitchen. They were married 64 years. William Francis died March 20, 2000.

A family spokesman said, Francis still loves the Lord and enjoys being with her family. “She loves to go to church … and she loves her pastor, Bert Montgomery and his wife, Wilma. They are just one of many that she loves like her own,” the spokesman said.

“Even though today she may be weak in her body, she is still strong in the Lord.”

Francis loved cooking, quilting and gardening. She has 20 children, 138 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 55 great-great-grandchildren.