Frances Teresa Fiala Whitters
Frances Teresa Fiala Whitters, 95, a resident of Cedar Rapids, passed away
on July 14, 2020, at her home, holding the hand of her beloved husband of 72 years. Funeral Mass: Monday, July 20, at St. Patrick Catholic Church outdoor courtyard by the Rev. Ivan Nienhaus at
9:30 a.m. Burial: St. John's Cemetery. Please check Teahen Funeral Home
website for video streaming
of Mass and a virtual "consolation" hour. Mass will be video streamed for distance participation if you contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Friends may visit virtually with Dick and the family for a virtual consolation hour on Sunday, July 19, if you contact email@example.com by noon on Sunday.
Fran was born Nov. 23, 1924, in Cedar Rapids, to Frank and Mary (Herot) Fiala. Fran was proud to be raised along with her seven brothers and sisters: Mary Mraz, Josie Mullaley, Sr. Anne, Dominic, Frank, Vince and Wencil Fiala, in the local Czech community. She graduated valedictorian from St. Wenceslaus High School and attended Mercy College Nursing School on the Cadet Nurse Corps program, earning her RN degree in 1947.
After the Second World War, she met the love of her life, Frank Richard (Dick) Whitters, at the Danceland Ballroom in downtown Cedar Rapids. She and Richard danced, then he asked for her number, and the two were soon dating. Dick and Fran married on Sept. 2, 1948, and together they welcomed 10 children. Fran was proud of her large family and filled their lives with adventure, teaching them the values of purposeful work, and devotion to family, faith and prayer. She served as den leader for various boys and girls troops, helped in classrooms and the nurse's office at St. Ludmila, All Saints and Regis high schools. Fran was active in the Salvation Army, Association for Retarded Citizens, and later with Discovery Living on behalf of her son Sam, who thrived with Down syndrome until his death in 2005.
Despite being a busy wife and mother, Fran made time for personal pursuits, such as gardening (and achieved the Master Gardener designation), foraging for mushrooms, picking wildflowers and berries, singing, canning vegetables and jams, and baling hay. She managed her family's menagerie of animals over the years including cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, a Shetland pony, Hereford cows, geese, ducks and a devoted border collie. She fed her fun-loving spirit by traveling the world with her husband. Her favorite trips were to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico and Guatemala. Her most ill-timed trip was to Cuba on the eve of Castro's takeover in 1959.
Fran sang with the Czech Heritage Singers, as well as performed solos with various church groups throughout her life. She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
She was preceded in death by an infant son, her cherished son, Sam; and several family "angels" including her sisters, Mary Mraz and Anne Fiala, her sister-in-law, Virginia Donathan, and her mother-in-law, Ruth Willson Whitters.
She is suvived by her devoted husband, Frank Richard Whitters; and eight children, Tim Whitters (Kris), Mark Whitters, Al Whitters (Mona), Gina Kerwin (Peter), Matthew Whitters (Mary), Eric Whitters (Tammy), Laurie Matlin (Robert) and Janet Nowakowski (Jeffrey); 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Miranda, Aaron, Alec, Emily, Gabe, Arthur, Douglas, Andrea, Shannon, Samantha, Shayla, Calvin, Casey, Curtis, Ethan, Leah, Colton, Braedon, Corrin and Ellie Kay.
Memorials may be directed to charities of the family's choice.
Friends may visit virtually with Dick and the family for a virtual consolation hour on Sunday, July 19, if you contact firstname.lastname@example.org before noon on Sunday. Online written condolences can also be left at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.