Frances A. Bliss was born in Niagara Falls, NY on April 4, 1921. She was the third child of George V. and Nettie Allen (nee Anleta Skimin). The family moved to Mt. Vernon, NY where Frances attended Mt. Vernon High School. When a young child she and her sister Margaret Joan contracted scarlet fever and were quarantined in a bedroom for 3 months. During this time Frances learned how to knit which became a lifelong passion. As a small child she spent many summers in the Muskoka Lakes region of Canada with her siblings and many cousins. While in high school, she participated in a scavenger hunt that resulted in the police coming to her parents’ house to retrieve the cannon balls from the front of city hall. She was an avid field hockey player. Her brother Robert was a close companion in high school. She attended the College of New Rochelle as did her sisters Mary G. Allen and Margaret Joan Allen (Sr. Margaret Mary, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Tarrytown, NY). Frances majored in psychology (child development) and graduated in 1943. After college, she worked for the Young and Rubicam Advertising. She wrote questionnaires for various new products including “permanent press shirts”. Her “grandboss” was George Gallup. At this time, advertisers were just learning about how to conduct national surveys.
During college she met Herbert J. Bliss who was stationed on Long Island with the US Army Air Corps Meteorological Service. They both loved dancing to big bands. Herb wooed Frances’ father by bringing him gasoline ration cards. They spent many quiet evenings together and Herb learned to crochet and braid rugs while keeping Frances company throughout WWII. After the war ended Frances encouraged Herb to finish law school while she worked and lived with her parents. They were married on February 4. 1950 in a small ceremony. Frances bought her wedding ring at Tiffany’s for $12. They lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Fleetwood, NY. After their third son was born, they bought a house in Valhalla, NY in 1953. Frances loved being a mother and cared deeply for her five children. She and Herb were active in various political and charity events. She worked on fundraising campaigns for three elementary schools (St. Johns and Mary, Holy Rosary, and Holy Name of Jesus) in addition to St. Agnes Hospital. She was president of the Rosary Alter Society at Holy Name of Jesus Church. She volunteered at St. Agnes hospital, taught reading at various elementary schools and worked on numerous political campaigns. She was also active in the College of New Rochelle alumni association. The Blisses were founding members of Westwood Swimming Association. She occasionally worked in her husband’s law office after it moved to Hawthorne, NY.
She learned how to play golf and was known by the Westchester Country Club “9 holers” as “Mighty Mouse”. She and Herb played numerous rounds of golf and went dinner dancing almost every weekend. She loved the beach and traveling to Canada to escape the humid summers. Family vacations were spent golfing or skiing. She took many art classes at the Westchester County Center and became a skilled painter and potter. Filling her house with handmade items. She greatly valued the other women who helped her care for her home and family. There were numerous babysitters and cleaning ladies. Frances said she could never have managed without their help. She occasionally disciplined her children by making them sit quietly in the living room for ten minutes. Later in life, she admitted she was in the kitchen just trying to regain her composure. She took pride in April Fools jokes, pranking the entire family. All her children came home for dinner on St. Valentines Day to get the dollar bill with their cards at their place setting. “Must be present to collect.”
As she got older, she was sometimes mistaken for Mrs. Henry. While at the bank a teller was corrected by another with the statement: “That’s Mrs. Bliss, she’s the one who wears the hat”. Eventually she noticed that “She had become Mrs. Henry” as total strangers knew who she was.
She is predeceased by her siblings Mary G. Allen, Robert J. Allen (Susan Miller), Sr. Margaret Mary and her beloved husband, Herbert J. Bliss. She is survived by her five children: Stephen P. Bliss (Tina Schornstadt), Matthew Bliss, John Bliss (Leslie Hendelman), Patrick J. Bliss (Melanie Jones), and Mary Bliss, her nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Reposing, Hawthorne Funeral Home on Friday from 6-9 PM. Funeral Mass, Holy Name of Jesus Church, Valhalla, NY on Saturday 10 AM. Interment, Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY to follow
HAWTHORNE FUNERAL HOME
21 West Stevens Ave
Hawthorne, New York 10532