Mot her Francis was born in Skene, Mississippi to Clifton Cleotha Coleman and Clara Bell Coleman. She was the fourth child of fourteen children. Her parents raised her with the knowledge of the Lord. Therefore, she committed her life to Christ during her early years.
Mother Francis began working outside the home at the tender age of four alongside her mother. She also was of great assistance around the house and loved to keep it neat and clean. Mother always felt there was a place for everything, so she was extremely organized.
Mother Francis assisted in helping to rear her younger siblings and would sacrifice school to help tend to them when they were born.
Mother Francis was raised and educated in this small town outside of Cleveland and graduated from Shaw High School. Shortly after graduation in 1962, she moved to Chicago. Mother always said she could not be a nurse or a teacher, and that was all you could do in Mississippi back then. However, she did eventually find her calling in the area of helps and teaching.
Mother Francis was a social worker for over thirty years for the State of
Illinois. Boy, how she loved this work! She would tell us many stories of how she helped people grow and get off government assistance to become self-sufficient. Mother could attest to this because she worked her way up to that position with the help of the state.
She took advantage of the opportunities the state offered by going to school to be a keypunch operator and then supervisor of that department. She then became a social worker who sometimes filled in for the supervisor and trained coworkers. She did not even want to retire at the young age of 62. At the encouragement of family members, she did give up that job. However, it was only for the state and not in life. Mother continued her mission of helping people outside
of work because she worked for the Lord always.
Mother Francis attended a few churches during her life. Under the teaching of Reverend E. M. Lesure, the deacons, mothers, and missionaries at Greater St. John MBC, she rededicated her life to Christ. There, mother learned how to read and
study the Bible in depth.
This led her to attend and teach at the Baptist Convention for several years. Many times, she would represent her church by teaching and speaking. She was also entrusted as the church secretary at Greater St. John MBC for many years. This is another way she became close friends with the deacons and the pastor. Anytime she would try to give up the position,
they would encourage her to stay and she did.
Mother Francis believed in supporting everything that the church did. She and her three girls would gladly attend church on Sundays (Sunday school, morning, and afternoon service). Mother also taught in these classes.
On Tuesday nights, we would attend missionary classes, on Wednesdays Bible study, and on Fridays choir rehearsal, of which she was president for a short while. It did not matter how we got there, we got there because missing was not an option. Sometimes we got there by bus, cab, church van, or caring church members who volunteered to give us a ride.
Mother Francis also attended Kingdom Baptist Church, where she was proudly ordained as Mother Francis, here on the Westside of Chicago. She worked closely with the pastor at that time. She was also involved in several ministries there and had the opportunity to speak during many services. However, her last church was here at
Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church under the
leadership of Reverend Kenneth L. Scott. She has spoken on several topics here too as she loved to do, and she did this at several events
throughout her life.
She loved the title and most of all what came with it. Mentoring people and sharing the Lord with others has always been her number one priority. It excited her to wear the white on first Sundays and the hats that were always too big for her small head.
Her second oldest daughter, Veronica, preceded her in death May 2020. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Clifton Coleman and Clara Bell Coleman; brother, Joseph B. Coleman and half-brother, A.C. Coleman; two sisters, Cleotha and Vera Coleman.
Mother Francis had many people whom she loved and who loved her too. She
leaves behind: two daughters, Yolanda Pelley/Donald and Sonya Herman; eight grandchildren, Quianta Morris/Wayne, Shade’, Shola, and Arianna Ashafa, Tomasina Moore (siblings), Rycal Herman, Paris, and Pierre Pelley; fifteen great-grandchildren, Lashiah, Louise, Sincere (Quianta), Latrice, Lyani, Dalonte’, Laveyah (Shade’), Latasia, Zariyah, Malachi, Miracle, Princess, Delasia (Shola), Kyrell, and Kamryn (Rycal); three brothers, Johnny Coleman, Melvin Thompson, and Robert Coleman/Mary; three sisters, Clara Gipson, Geraldine Goss/Walter, and Patricia Wright; half-sisters, Sandra Miller, Eunice Walls, Gracie Newcomb, Delores Butler, Diane Thompson-Simpson, and Arnesta Johnson; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and many beloved friends.
Some close family friends are Dorothy Mae Washington, Mattie Pearl Brown, Cora Beasly, Delores Adams, Janette Johnson, Ernestine Turner, and Mildred Silas (cousin).