Born and raised on a dairy farm near Boonsboro, Frankie lived all of her life in the Boonsboro area, except for almost three years spent in Petersburg, W.Va., where her husband J. Gilbert “Bus” Everline’s job with Potomac Edison took them in the late 1960s.
Frankie met Bus at a dance at Uncle John’s Cabin on Frederick Street in Hagerstown, which was next to the municipal swimming pool, Bus said. Both 19 at the time, Frankie was eight months older than Bus.
They graduated from high school in 1940 — she from Boonsboro High School and he from Hagerstown High School.
He said he was a big boy when he was little, so his mother started calling him Buster, which was shortened to Bus. Frankie called him Bus to get his attention and used Bussie as a term of affection, said oldest daughter Kathy Berry of Austin, Texas. Others called him Buzz.
The couple dated for about a year, then married on March 27, 1943, an enduring marriage of 69 years.
Bus said he almost blew it, though. He dropped off an Easter corsage at her house and she said she had other plans for Easter.
He assumed Frankie had gotten back with a former boyfriend and Bus stopped seeing her for a bit. When he learned that wasn’t the case, they started dating again.
“I should have checked it out. I could have lost her,” Bus said.
He didn’t take any chances after that.
“I was on leave from the Navy. I said ‘It’s going to be a long war. Let’s get married,’” Bus said.
“I knew I had a winner. That’s why I married her. I loved her and still do.”
Frankie was working for Potomac Edison when she met Bus, then later for the Washington County Sanitary Commission, for which she did secretarial work.
The job of greatest importance to her was that of raising the couple’s three children and taking care of their home. Frankie stayed home until John, the youngest child, was in middle school.
“She knew how to make a house feel like a home and feel welcoming,” Kathy said.
Frankie had learned generous hospitality and good cooking from her mother and is remembered by family, friends and the community for that side of her.
“Her mom was the best. The food on the Ford farm was the best around,” Bus said.
Pastor Joe Donovan of Trinity Lutheran Church in Boonsboro, where Frankie was a lifelong member, used the image of a banquet to illustrate Frankie’s life.
“She was such a hostess. Hospitality and inclusiveness were characteristics of her. She was so accepting and loving of people,” Pastor Donovan said.
“I didn’t know anybody who didn’t like her. She never gossiped,” Bus said.
Daughter-in-law Irene Ellis, John’s wife, said Frankie noted people’s favorite dishes.
“If you were invited to Frankie’s dinner table and say you like something, she’ll make sure that dish is there the next time,” Irene said.
“She was great about welcoming son-in-laws into the family and feeding them,” said Mike Berry, Kathy’s husband.
“She couldn’t stand to see an open spot on your plate,” John said.
Bus said his mother always made him pork chops for his birthday, so Frankie continued the tradition, choosing double-thick chops that she stuffed.
Baking was her specialty, and at Christmas, the family could count on sand tarts, fruit cake and mince pies, Kathy said. Bus said Frankie’s scalloped oysters and crab cakes were also favorites.
Even though Frankie never regained use of her right hand, her dominant hand, after a January 1987 stroke, she still made big pots of soup, depending on Bus to “chop, slice and dice” for her, Kathy said. She also learned how to write with her left hand, which she used to pen a 139-page memoir.
Besides her culinary skills and gift for hosting large family gatherings, Kathy said her mother was known for remembering special occasions.
“Whether it was family or people she just met, she sent cards for birthdays, graduations, weddings and anniversaries,” Kathy said.
With three children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren for whom to buy gifts, Frankie’s love for shopping was a blessing.
“Bon-Ton knew her by her first name,” Bus said.
“I think she had a very good eye for fashion. She had style,” Irene said.
Kathy said after Frankie’s stroke, it took Frankie a year to regain her stride. When Kathy took her shopping and Frankie wanted to continue long after Kathy was ready to stop, she knew her mother was better.
“She was a marathon shopper,” Kathy said.
With their children living in different places, Frankie and Bus enjoyed traveling to visit them. Kathy and her husband, Mike, lived in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Daughter Penny Friddle and her husband, Charlie, have lived in different places in West Virginia, and John and Irene have returned to the area after living in Gaithersburg, Md.
Frankie’s volunteering often focused around children. She also was committed to ministry at church, where she served on the church council, taught Sunday school and helped with confirmation and vacation Bible school, youth group, altar guild, sang in the church choir and was active for many years with the social ministry committee.
“She was fair, even, all-inclusive. She didn’t judge,” John said.
“She never played favorites,” Bus said.
Kathy said when one of her two sons had a birthday, Frankie would have a little gift for the other one, so he didn’t feel left out.
The close-knit family had fun together, using “zingers” when necessary to keep each other in line.
“Mom was very gracious and ladylike, but there was a streak of something else that came out every once in a while,” Kathy said.
“She got zingers at him and we did, too,” said John, referring to Bus.
“That’s where I get my humility,” Bus said.
He holds up a huge stack of sympathy cards, reflective of how many people Frankie had touched during her life.
“I am truly amazed and humbled by the expressions of love and caring and friendship,” Bus said of the cards, flowers, food and phone calls to the family since Frankie’s death.
“She was a much loved person,” Bus said.
In recent years, Frankie had not been in the best of health. A fall on May 21, after making a big pot of soup and as she was putting the last pan of cookies into the oven, caused her to break a hip, a fall from which she never recovered.
“She wanted it to be over, because she was tired, very tired. She couldn’t really be Frankie anymore,” Bus said.
“Father Joe said she’s probably cooking up a storm in heaven and waiting for us to come,” Kathy said.
Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in this continuing series takes a look back — through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others — at a member of the community who died recently. Today’s “A Life Remembered” is about Frances F. Everline who died June 12 at the age of 89. Her obituary was published in the June 14 edition of The Herald-Mail.