Frances McCullough Pitts, 92, of Conway, Ark., went to be with her heavenly Father on Feb. 5, 2024, with her children at her side.
Frances was born on Sept. 9, 1931, in Eudora, Ark., to Christopher Michael (Mike) and Josephine Annice McCullough. She was the oldest of three children and would help her dad pick cotton after school. Her mom taught her not to pick the cotton blooms by telling her those were Baby Ruths. Frances minded and let the cotton grow, ‘cause she wanted the money for her favorite candy bars. She loved playing with her brothers, uncles, aunts and cousins alike. She was on the basketball team at Eudora High School and graduated as valedictorian in 1949.
Frances always wanted to be a Navy nurse, so after graduation, she moved to Little Rock to attend Baptist School of Nursing. She often told of dorm shenanigans, but the students could always hear Mrs. Kincheloe clicking down the hall in her high heels. Food was hung out the window, and they never got caught, as far as we know. Frances was a good student and graduated in 1952.
Frances married Frank A. Pitts in May 1953 in North Little Rock, Ark., where they raised three children. Rumor has it Frank had to ask quite a few times. But he persisted, and she eventually said yes. Good thing that Navy career never took off, since she refused to fly and got sick on boats. Frank and Frances had three children — a son and two daughters — and loved them all. She went to ball games, libraries, PTA meetings, the beauty salon and all sorts of places with her kids. The family visited Silver Dollar City when Branson was first thought of. And then came two grandkids. Those little ones hung the moon, and their MeMe Pitts and PaPa Frank spoiled them and took them all over the place, even setting up a TV in the van for them to watch movies along the way. (This was way before DVD players were standard in cars.) You would always find Frances with a coffee cup in her hand, often joined by family and friends.
Frances worked at Baptist Hospital for a few years and then spent 31 years as a nurse at Veterans Administration Hospital. She loved helping veterans. She was head nurse of a 40-bed medical unit (4 South, then 6 Delta) for much of her career before retiring in 1989.
Frances was a faithful member of several churches -- New Hope Baptist Church in Eudora, Immanuel Baptist in Little Rock, Rose City Immanuel Baptist Church in North Little Rock and Calvary Baptist Church in North Little Rock -- before moving to Conway and joining Woodland Heights Baptist Church. She volunteered as camp nurse, chaperoned on many youth trips, and often hosted youth or church members at her house. She and the seniors would fry up a boatload of pies to raise money for missions.
Frances never met a stranger. She said she was shy, but that never stopped her from chatting with anyone. She and Frank travelled to every state in the contiguous United States and met many delightful friends along the way. Some of her favorite trips were to Alaska and to see those men on Mount Rushmore. She loved walking along the beach and finding seashells as well as shopping in new cities.
Frances was well known for her pecan pies, snickerdoodle cookies, fried apple pies and other tasty treats that came from her kitchen. No one ever went away from her house hungry. She hosted a canasta game on many Saturday nights, and you never knew how many plates to set. If you came to the house, you probably heard one of her favorite sayings — “One day at a time” and “Is that a want or a need?” Her family won’t forget those.
She volunteered with several organizations — NARFE (National Association of Retired Federal Employees), Baptist Health Medical Center Auxiliary North Little Rock and a local food pantry, to name a few. She just loved helping others.
She missed her husband terribly after he passed in 2013 but spent her later years with children, NARFE members and Sunday school class members and enjoyed each day.
The loving wife and mother is survived by her son, Robert M. (Mike) Pitts and wife Dianne of Berryville, Ark.; two daughters, Pamela Allen and husband Dennis of Conway, Ark., and Patty Pitts of Louisville, Ky; two grandchildren, Rob Pitts and wife Jacque of Kimberling City, Mo., and Leslie Paladino and husband Michael of Bentonville, Ark; two great-grandchildren, Gabby and Peter Paladino; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; her parents; and two brothers, Max Roy McCullough and Willard McCullough.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main Street, 758-1170. A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, before burial at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Eudora, Ark. Memorials may be made to Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Eudora, Arkansas Alzheimers Association or Gentiva Hospice.