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Frances Kranz McAlpin, 107

At age 107, Frances Kranz McAlpin of Minneapolis, formerly of Hastings, slipped from this life to her Lord on Sept. 12, 2017.

A gracious, loving, beautiful lady, "upbeat" to her death, Frances was an amazing mentor and role model for her family and community, enduring major challenges in life with faith, courage, and resilience. Despite unplanned obstacles and adversity, she never surrendered to self-pity, but adjusted her plans and forged ahead with life.

Frances was the last surviving member of the 60-member Hasting High School class of 1928. After attending business college, she was employed in Minneapolis, and then in Hastings as secretary to Harold Hoffman, president of Smead Manufacturing Co. She later worked 20 years as Hastings High School secretary.

In 1934, she married A.T. 'Butch' Kranz. In the late 1940's, at age 41 he suffered a massive stroke. To provide him with something to fill his long hours of confinement, the couple in the early 1950s, literally on a financial "shoestring," opened Gretchen's Gifts in the sunroom of Fran's grandmother's house in South Hastings where they lived. With Fran's natural artistic ability, interior decorating expertise, and antique collecting, along with the couple's hospitable personalities and entrepreneur spirits, the unique shop became extremely popular, and for 20 years drew customers not only from Hastings but throughout the metropolitan area.

Operating the gift shop while working a full-time secretarial job at the high school required that Fran work seven days a week for 20 years, while also caring for her husband and raising their two daughters. Never complaining, she said it was work she loved.

Always having a great love of travel, Fran celebrated her 90th birthday in Ireland, and spent many happy vacations on the North Shore, her last visit when she was 100 years old. Fran lived in her own Minneapolis condo until she was 102, enjoying reading, playing the keyboard, practicing her shorthand (at which she was very proficient), working crossword puzzles and enjoying her nightly Manhatten. In 2012, she moved to Mt. Olivet Home in Minneapolis.

In 2016, Fran was invited by Boston University Medical Center to participate in its "Genetics of Longevity Study." Fran was also the last surviving person to remember seeing Gen. William LeDuc in person. She recalled that she would see him in Downtown Hastings when she was a young girl.

Frances was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and William O'Connor. Her first husband, 'Butch', whom she cared for until his death at age 57. In 1968, she married Homer McAlpin. He suffered from Alzheimer's prior to his death in 1989. She was also preceded in death by siblings and their spouses, Florence and Orin Evans, Marcus and Vi O'Connor, Tom and Florence O'Connor, and her grandson, Peter Schmit.

Frances is survived by her daughters, Mary (David) Schmit and Gretchen (Rusty) Irvine; grandchildren Stephen (Sue) Schmit, John Schmit, Adam (Karla) Colwell, Amy Colwell (Chris) Bluhm; great-grandchildren Michael, Sean, Patrick and Connor Schmit, Emma and Henry Colwell, Kieran, Ananda, Lulu and Saoirse Bluhm; stepsons Pat (Iris) McAlpin, Gene (Gail) McAlpin; their families, and by great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

The family expresses its deep gratitude to special caregiver Martha Oxborough and the dedicated Mt. Olivet and Grace Hospice staffs who provided Frances with exceptional loving, tender care. They became a deeply appreciated part of the family and we extend to all of them our heartfelt thanks.

Funeral Service for Frances was held on Monday, September 18, 2017 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings. The interment took place in the parish cemetery.

Memorials preferred to MCCL, the Hurricane Relief Fund or donor's choice.

For guestbook and further information, please visit

Arrangements are being completed by Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Hastings. 651-437-9419