November 29, 1921 - May 7, 2008

Frances lived her life with joy and love--always unselfishly serving the needs of others whenever and wherever she could.  She was born in Oakland, Nebraska, and spent much of her childhood in Iowa City, Iowa.  In 1937 she moved with her parents--Leonard and Elizabeth Benson--and younger sister, Beth, to Austin, Texas, where she graduated from high school.   In January of 1943 she graduated  magna cum  laude with a Phi Beta Kappa key from the University of Texas.  After teaching high school English  for a semester, wanted to serve her country  during WWII and so enlisted in the WAVES (the women's naval auxiliary).  From November of 1943 to July of 1944 she was stationed in Boulder, Colorado, in a Japanese language training.  In 1945 Frances entered the Cadet Nursing program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, graduating in January, 1948.  During her stay in Baltimore she met the love of her life--Harry Kahn. 

Frances and Harry married on February 5, 1948 and shared a happy life together until Harry's untimely death in 1979.  They raised five fabulous children, and for Frances nurturing, teaching, and caring for her family gave her the greatest joy, satisfaction, and rewards of her life.  
Frances' great capacity to love and teach also extended to the many animals who shared her life at different times.  As a young girl she  had a love of horses and insisted on riding the mean-spirited pony on her uncle's farm--often with bone-jarring results.  She did find a way to use this passion for horses for the greater good, of course, by  serving as equestrian counselor at Girl Scout camp for many summers.   During her stint in the navy she adopted a collie (named Nami--Japanese for wave)  whom she found so delightful that later when she lived with her family on ten acres in Connecticut, she began breeding, training, and selling collies.  Each of the children also at some point was entrusted to train and show a collie--a great learning experience.
After Harry's death, Frances moved to Squaw Valley, California--in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  There she indulged both her love of the outdoors by hiking the nearby King's Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks and her love of dogs by acquiring her first Schipperke.  She joined the dog training groups in Fresno and was soon winning ribbons and awards in the obedience ring.  When the agility trials were started. she quickly adapted her dogs to that fun activity also.  Since agility competition requires both the dog and the handler to move at top speed, Frances (in her late seventies) and her dog (over ten) would often be introduced with awe and respect as the oldest  participants in the show.  Frances again found a way to combine her love of dogs with her need to help others.  She  trained her dogs to be good therapy animals and would take them to hospitals and nursing homes to brighten the lives of many.  Her gift for teaching helped her to do demonstrations at public schools--showing young people the rewards of being responsible pet owners.

Frances' battles with cancer started after she moved to Massachusetts in 2000 and the esophageal cancer was discovered.  After defying the odds and surviving the operation at the age of eighty, she had four cancer-free years.  However after moving to Sedona, Arizona in 2006 she found that the cancer had returned to liver, lungs and bone.  Still she fought it valiantly with rugged chemo treatments for over a year--a year in which she continued to enjoy hiking the beautiful red rock country whenever her children came to visit.  With the aid of the caring and dedicated people of the Northern Arizona Hospice, she was able to face the end of life with the same strength and humor and courage as  she had always lived it.  In her final act of giving she made arrangements for her body to be used for research by the Biological Resource Center of Phoenix.  

Frances leaves many grieving, but grateful, friends and family--her children:  Sharon and Richard Tatge of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Sandra Kahn of Phoenix, Arizona; Richard and Susanne Kahn of Rickling, Germany; Brian Kahn of Philomuth, Oregon; and Dan and Christina Kahn of Sparks, Nevada; her twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and her sister, Beth, of Austin, Texas.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Northern Arizona Hospice, Cottonwood, AZ or to The Nature Conservancy.