Nellie Francine Mattox Dean, 80, of Dayton passed away Thursday, September 27, 2019 at home surrounded by her family. Francine was born February 18, 1939 in Ennis, Texas to parents, Charles Keemit Mattox and Thealda Francis Rockey Mattox. Her mother was traveling and had to stop the train in Ennis to let her off so Francine could be born.
A memorial service for Francine will be 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at her daughter Kim’s home, 546 South Gates Street in Devers. It will be hot and humid so if you come make it casual. Please don’t feel obligated to come, they certainly know those whose hearts are with them. Honoring Francine’ memory as pallbearers will be Cliff Cunningham, Doug Harris, Tommy Mcintosh, Jesse Fussell, Jimmy Sciacca, Jacob Guerra, Cameron Dean, Cody Day, Kleve Kirby, J.E. Douzat, Boyd Neal, Brad Neal, cecil Davis, Larry McMillian, Al Perry, and Charley Mattox.
Francine was preceded in death by her parents, step-father, Dick Fussell; son, Earl Lee Dean, Jr., granddaughter, Pammie Harris and brother, Charles “Buddy’ Mattox. She leaves behind to cherish her memories, her husband, Earl Lee Dean, Sr.; daughters, Debbie Harris and husband Doug of Dayton, Phyllis Dean of Dayton, Kim McIntosh and husband Tommy of Devers; grandchildren, Tara and Cody Day, Jimmy and Brittany Sciacca, Kim and Jacob Guerra, Leslie Pierce, Cameron and Morgan Dean, Kaitlin McIntosh; great-grandchildren, Keilee Jo, Tyson, Cadence, Layton, Brayden, Noah, Jude, Abigail and Dominic; sisters, Dodie and Lym Musgrove, and Doris Durham; brother, Jesse Fussell; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.
Francine grew up in Galena Park, Texas where she was a member of the band serving as head twirler and drum major. She worked at Prince’s Drive Inn and was one of the original car hops. She was a heck of a roller skater and even participated in the Houston Area Roller Derby. As a younger woman, Francine played on several volleyball, softball and bowling teams. She enjoyed playing canasta and 42, especially with her mother.
Francine and Earl Lee grew up together. They grew up dancing with each other, something they both enjoyed until their health made it impossible. They have danced with each other over 65 years. They were married August 18, 1965 after he returned from the Korean War and lived in Houston where they started their family. Earl began working for Brown and Root, living in England, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Francine and Earl Lee have been married for 63 years, they have had a loving and exciting marriage. Which is why he had to retire 4 times.
The Deans moved to Dayton in December of 1968 when they decided they needed a permanent place to raise their children. During these years Francine owned several businesses, and antique store, a flooring stone “Fashion Floors”, a craft/malt shop “The Little Hen House”, and finally a restaurant “The Branding Iron”. She was one of the founding members of the Dayton Ole Tyme Days and served on several community organization committees.
Francine was a very talented painter, teaching painting classes “Painting by Francine” and going to nursing homes to give free lessons. She enjoyed sewing and there were not too many things she couldn’t figure out how to make. When she lived in England, she travelled throughout the churches and loved to do brass rubbings. They aren’t very many in the family who weren’t beneficiaries of her crafty efforts.
Francine enjoyed cooking. There wasn’t a cookbook that she would pass up, always looking for the next recipe to try out on her family. She especially loved making soups, which earned her one of her nick names, as the Soup Nazi.
She had a kind and generous heart. No one ever left her house hungry and if you needed a helping hand she was the first one there. There are too many people to count that has stayed under roof one time or another, who were having a rough patch and just needed a little help. The family jokes that she took in strays four legged or two. It was a big part of who she was.
Francine’s greatest joy was her family. She loved her four children fiercely. She supported whatever they were passionate about and could be found on the sidelines of track meets, tennis matches, football games, dance competitions, softball games and rodeos. She would also, let you or the coaches know how she thought it needed to be done. She was not shy about sharing her opinions.
She loved her children but she was over the moon about her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was born to be a Mamack. She adored her grandbabies and loved having them around, often invented reasons why they didn’t need to go home. Her fierce protective love definitely spilled over to them, there is nothing she wouldn’t do for them. She once again became a cheerleader for them and ended up on the side lines of many a football game, queen’s contest, rodeo, baseball games and livestock shows. It didn’t matter what they were doing, she was there beaming with pride. There was nothing she loved more than having her grandbabies arms around her neck.
Whether you called her Francine, Nellie Lou, Franny Jo, Oleata, Mamack or Momma, the impact she left on those that loved her is immeasurable. To say she will be missed by her loved ones is an understatement, but we take comfort in knowing she is with her Lord and Savior.
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