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“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...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Nancy McDonald - Albia, IA

“Valerie ,Steve, and Family, We are so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a nice lady and she will be missed. ”
2 of 6 | Posted by: Doug and Julie Doud - Moravia, IA

“Please accept our sincere sympathy and prayers and may your memories give you peace. ”
3 of 6 | Posted by: Dennis & Beverly Sisul Laurson

“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...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Sheila Mattly - Corydon, IA

“Fran was always smiling and had a kind word she will be missed ”
5 of 6 | Posted by: Lori Argo - Oklahoma city

“Valerie so sorry for your loss. Your Mom was quite a lady. ”
6 of 6 | Posted by: Linda Grinstead - Ottumwa, IA

Heart Emblem

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