I checked my email late yesterday, after a long day of driving, and found the sad news that Fran Randall had passed away at age 93.
Fran was one of the first Girl Scouts in Frederick County, Maryland, joining in 1938. She would be a mainstay of the movement in Frederick for the next eight decades.
The future Mrs. Randall worked at Braddock Heights day camp in 1944.
Fran wore many hats in her lifetime — chemist, journalist, historian, feminist, businesswoman, and more. But my connection to her was through Girl Scouting, and I greatly enjoyed the time spent together swapping stories about the movement, travel, and life in general.
Fran and her brother published their own newspaper in 1942. The Randall family later became the publisher of the Frederick News-Post.
The last time I saw Fran was at the grand opening of our Archives and History Program Center in Frederick. She had made a generous contribution to the center and not even recent surgery was going to keep her away. Frannie was especially delighted when I showed her the display case holding her former leader’s hat.
This photo from the Girl Scout Centennial has hung in the Frederick Center since it opened in 2015 and perfectly captures Fran’s enthusiasm for Girl Scouting.
She leaves a tremendous legacy for Frederick County and the thousands of Girl Scouts active there.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting Frances A. Randall, a true pioneer of Girl Scouting in Frederick County, Maryland.
Fran (r) tells Betsy Thurston (c) and I how to kill a snake on a hiking trail (GSCNC photo).
Frannie, who just turned 90 years young, joined Frederick’s Troop 5 in 1938 and has been involved non-stop since then.
The future Mrs. Randall worked at Braddock Heights day camp in 1944 (GSCNC archives).
I enjoyed telling her about Nation’s Capital’s plans for a Girl Scout history program center in Frederick and brought several old scrapbooks for her to look through.
In one of the scrapbooks, Fran found a newspaper she and her brother had published in 1942. Today, the Randall family publishes the Frederick News-Post (GSCNC archives).
We spent the afternoon swapping stories about troops, camping, council mergers, National Center West, writing books about local history, and trips to Russia. We also compared notes about attending Girl Scout National Conventions in Houston, TX, in 1981 (Frannie) and 2011 (me).
We agreed to get together again in a few weeks with the right equipment to capture her wonderful memories and stories about Girl Scouting in Frederick County.