CLINTON — Frances Helena Kershner Bickelhaupt, a life long resident of Clinton, passed away in her home on July 27, 2013.
She was born on April 28,1916 in Clinton, Iowa to Dr. Frank and Anna Helena Kershner. On September 5, 1938 she married Robert Earle Bickelhaupt at the First Presbyterian Church, sharing their lives together for sixty-eight years.
She graduated from Clinton High School, Stephens College, and Northwestern University.
Her community activities included: Agatha Auxiliary, Church Circle, VNA, and the Dr. F. O. Kershner Scholarship committee. Memberships included: Life long member of First United Presbyterian Church, Alpha Phi, AAUW and PEO.
In 1970, Frances retired from civic endeavors and Bob from the automobile industry. Together they began a new chapter in their lives, creating the Bickelhaupt Arboretum, which continues to operate as a private foundation. The Arboretum was endowed in perpetuity as a gift to their community, Clinton, Iowa. They were members of APGA, International Society of Arboriculture, Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, Municipal Arborists, Urban Foresters, American and Midwest Midwest Hosta Society, International Lilac Society, Ornamental Crabapple Society and charter members of American Conifer Society.
Honors received by Frances and Robert include: “Friends of Education Award,” by the Clinton Education Association; “President’s Award,” and “Award of Merit,” by the International Lilac Society; “Award for Distinguished Service,” by Mt. St. Clare College; “Professional Service Award,” by the Institute of Museum Services; “Education Award,” by the National Arbor Day Foundation; “Outstanding Volunteer Award,” by the Iowa Urban and Community Forestry Council and the Friend of Clinton Community College Alumni Award. In April, 2013 Frances was honored as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA, an organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Those left to honor her memory include: her two daughters: Frances Elizabeth (Allan Rathje) Hill of Clinton and Linda Ann (Peter) Galanis of Southbury, Connecticut; three grandchildren: Shawn Elizabeth (James) Hill-Lamb of Bettendorf, Iowa, J. Robert (Mia) Hill of Rio Rancho, New Mexico and Meggan Anne (Vincent) Hill-McQueeney of Cheyenne, Wyoming; six great-grandchildren: Morgan Elizabeth and Marshal James Lamb, Cooper Joseph Hill, Nicholas Joseph, Anna Elizabeth and Colton James McQueeney; her nephews John K. (Susan) Van Allen, Frederick H. (Kristen) Van Allen and her niece, Jane Van Allen Brackett (Ted). Frances was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband, Robert and her sister, Elizabeth Kershner Van Allen.