Frances went to her final rest on the beautiful spring morning of March 21, 2021. She went to sleep believing that she will be part of the first resurrection and looking forward to seeing her beloved husband, Boots. Frances, known to her family and close friends as Frankie, was born on April 25, 1934, in a log cabin at Custer, Montana to Benjamin Miller and Hope Cecil Thatcher. In 1942 the family moved to a farm west of Billings. As a young person Frances attended Elder Grove School and was involved in 4-H and Builders Club. She also attended Mission Volunteer programs throughout southern Montana. She lived on the farm with her family until marrying Boots Gottlieb Kraft on July 1, 1951 in Billings. Over the next ten years they moved thirteen times while working on various ranches and at rented properties. In 1961 they returned to her father’s property west of Billings which they rented for ten years and then purchased the property from her father. For 61 years she helped run the farm and raised seven children while her husband worked a job to make ends meet. Frances was a devoted wife and mother. She was careful with money and taught her children the same. Frances could squeeze a dime out of a nickel if need be, but she was always ready to give an extra portion when needed. Frances was a member of the Billings Seventh-Day Adventist Church since the age of twelve. Some of her favorite memories were those connected with her church family. Frances cleaned the church, assisted in teaching children’s classes and spent many hours in the kitchen. Many church members and young people knew her as the Craft Lady or called her Gramma Frances. She had a gift of recycling projects with a new twist and she had a way of making every child feel special.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Frances Carol Kraft, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Holistic health had been a lifetime interest for Frances. During the 70’s Frances took a deep interest in holistic medicine, reflexology, and myotherapy. She attended several course studies in Montana, Utah and Washington State. Dr. Thomas of Loma Linda University encouraged her to continue her studies and do therapy for her family and friends. She continued throughout her life to read and study different ideas and was known to say, “I knew that would come back around.”
During Frances’ retirement years, she never really retired. She continued to help raise animals on the farm and laughingly called herself a sheep doula. She took several trips to see her children but was always ready to go home. She was happiest when she was on the farm. She had a silly sense of humor and was always ready with a play on words. In 2012 the loss of her beloved Boots and her son Mark made her more determined then ever to live a long and healthy life. She mustered through that winter and by spring had made the decision to continue farming with the help of family.
Frances was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, four sisters and six brothers and two of her sons, Mark and Dallas. Frances is survived by two sons, Lester (Debbie) Kraft and Mick Kraft of Billings. Three daughters, Naomi Kraft of Billings, Ruth (Russell) Cumin of Columbus, and Cecil (Martin) Johnson of Billings and Daughter-in-law, Deanne Kraft of Billings. Her grand children: Cherie (Justin) Moore, Jeremiah (Allison) Kraft, Joshua (Michelle) Kraft, Derik (Sari) Kraft, Mariah (Josh) Cappel, TJ (Molly) Sweeney, Rich (Desirae) Kraft, Shane Sweeney, Chelsea (Jon) Smith, Sunshine (Mike) Hunt, Laci (Chris) Duer, James Lee Babb, Adam (Bobbi) Babb, Shannette, (Bek) Lane, Terry (Sarah) Lane, April (Eric) Svenson, Erin Cumin, Zach Cumin, Jeb Cumin, Taylor Reitman, Reanna (Travis) Baker-Kraft, Jesse Mitzel, Michael (Katy) Erickson, Justin Erickson, and Marissa Johnson. There are forty-one great grandchildren and one on the way. Also two great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Mary June Newby and brother John (Anne) Thatcher and numerous nieces, nephews, friends and church family.
Frances’ family would like to acknowledge Stillwater Hospice and especially thank Kevin and Melissa for their assistance and understanding.