Frances A. James

By on December 30, 2010

Frances A. James, 90, of Batavia, formerly of Elburn, passed away quietly on Dec. 26, 2010. She was born on the family farm on Jan. 26, 1920, the daughter of Glenn and Theresa (Bugner) Swan in Aberdeen, S.D.

Frances grew up on the farm until she was 12, when the family moved to Big Rock, where they again farmed in 1932. She graduated from Big Rock High School with the class of 1937. Frances went on to Ritchies Secretarial School in Aurora.

In September 1940, Frances was united in marriage to Donald James in Clinton, Iowa. They began their new life together in Kaneville, where they began to raise a family. A dark time came on Aug. 15, 1950, when Donald passed away. Frances moved back to the family farm with her parents in Big Rock for a time until they moved to Elburn in June of 1952. Shortly before they moved to Elburn, Frances began working for her brother, Chuck, at the Phillips 66 gas station as a bookkeeper until 1981, when Chuck bought into G.R. Johnson and closed the station. In 1982, Frances began working for Acton Mobil, managing the office duties until her retirement in 2004.

Frances moved to Batavia that same year to Riverain, where she made her home until a fall brought her into the care of Marian Joy for rehabilitation. Due to declining health, Frances then began a short stay at Aurora Rehabilitation Center.

Frances was a longtime faithful member of the Community Congregational Church in Elburn. From 1976-93, Frances was a force to be reckoned with on the Elburn Village Board.

Frances had a personality all her own, and her unique character brought her into many circles of people, especially in Elburn politics. She enjoyed bingo and was a voracious reader of three local newspapers plus her hometown Elburn Herald. Frances made friends wherever she went, especially those she met at The Kountry Kettle in Elburn and later at Riverain. She liked watching golf but loved watching her Chicago Bears. Frances put her stamp on life and will be remembered by many for generations to come.

She is survived by one daughter, Marie (Robert) Holdridge of Batavia; two grandsons, Eric (Shannon Bryan) Holdridge and their son, Noah Bryan of Appleton, Wis., and Scott (Denise Roop) Holdridge and their daughter, Riki Roop of Oswego; one sister-in-law, Lucille Swan of Elburn; many nieces and nephews and a community of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, three brothers, Charles, Clarence and Duane Swan; and one sister-in-law, Arlene Swan.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie, pastor of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn, will officiate a public graveside service at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 31, at Kaneville Cemetery, Kaneville.

A memorial has been established in her name to benefit the ALS Foundation. Checks may be made to the “Frances James Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at