Frances Benell

  • Born: August 10, 1939
  • Died: April 9, 2016
  • Location: Moravia, Iowa

Lange Funeral Home & Crematory LLC

1900 South 18th Street
Centerville, IA 52544
Tel. (641) 856-2000

Tribute & Message From The Family

Frances Benell, age 76, of Moravia, Iowa died April 9, 2016 at her home in Moravia.

Frances was born on August 10, 1939 in Moravia, Iowa, the daughter of Orel and Alice (Cox) Kaster. Frances played basketball at Moravia High School. She averaged 31 points a game her senior year. She graduated from Moravia High School in 1957.

On July 2, 1958, she was united in marriage to Paul Benell Jr. in Moravia. From this union, four children were born, Valerie, Brian, Robin and Chris.

Public service just came naturally to Frances. She was a multi-term Moravia Council member. She was also served on the Moravia School board, where she pushed for Special Education in the schools. Frances was on the Moravia Fall Festival Committee, the Library Board, the Historical Society, the Moravia Arts Council, the Appanoose County Arts Initiate, the farmer's market committee, and helped organize Friday Evening Music in Moravia. She also worked on the application that garnered the National Parks recognition of the Armstrong House in Cincinnati as an official site of the Underground Railroad.

Frances was a member of the Grace Methodist Church and the Light of Life Church, both of Moravia. She loved to make jewelry, which was sold at the Methodist Church Bazaar. The project that really touched her heart was raising money for the playground equipment installed by the Community Center. Her advice to others - "Get involved, it is worthwhile and has such great rewards."

Frances is survived by her children, Valerie (Steve) McKinley of Moravia, Brian (Sharon) Benell of Monroe, Georgia, Robin Lee (Tracy) Page of Johnston, and Chris Benell of Johnston; a brother Joe Kaster of Knoxville; brother-in-law Monte Albers of Trenton, Missouri; eleven grandchildren, and twenty five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Orel and Alice Kaster, a sister, Dana Albers, and a sister in law Janice Kaster.

A visitation will take place at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia, Iowa on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from 12 PM-8 PM, with the family present from 6-8 PM. Memorials have been established to either the Moravia Library, the Grace Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Moravia, or the Light of Life Church in Moravia and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home, 1900 South 18th Street, Centerville, Iowa 52544. Condolences may be shared online at


Condolence & Memory Journal

Frances was a classmate and friend, and we also shared our love of basketball. We always called her Annie and that is how I will remember her. She had many talents and even though we drifted our separate ways after high school I will always have fond memories of her. Rest in peace my friend.

Nancy Vance

Posted by Nancy McDonald - Albia, IA   April 12, 2016

Valerie ,Steve, and Family, We are so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a nice lady and she will be missed.

Posted by Doug and Julie Doud - Moravia, IA - Friend   April 12, 2016

Please accept our sincere sympathy and prayers and may your memories give you peace.

Posted by Dennis & Beverly Sisul Laurson    April 12, 2016


Dear Valerie and Amanda,
I'm sorry for the loss of this great lady from your lives.
May you find some peace in the coming days sharing stories and memories of Frances.

Posted by Sheila Mattly - Corydon, IA - Coworker   April 11, 2016


Fran was always smiling and had a kind word she will be missed

Posted by Lori Argo - Oklahoma city   April 10, 2016

Valerie so sorry for your loss. Your Mom was quite a lady.

Posted by Linda Grinstead - Ottumwa, IA - Acquaintance   April 10, 2016