CULLISON, FRANKIE SNOW.
One of the leading citizens of Winfield, Kansas, Frankie Snow Cullison, died January 1, 2001, aged ninety-one. She was noted for her activities with the Girl Scouts movement and her leadership abilities at the Cowley County Historical Museum in Winfield.
Frankie Snow Cullison was born in Springfield, Illinois, January 29, 1910, to James Franklin and Annie (Bulpitt) Snow. After the death of Annie Snow in 1916, James F. Snow took Frankie and her brother to his mother’s home in Anthony, Kansas. They lived with their grandmother (Mrs. Sarah Sherman) and their aunt (Carrie L. Snow). When Frankie was ten years old, she and her brother, aged seven, moved back with their father to their farm in Christian County, Illinois. Six years later, now aged sixteen, Frankie Snow moved back to Anthony, Kansas, where she graduated from high school. She continued her education through correspondence and short-term courses.
On October 12, 1930, Frankie Snow married George Marion Cullison at Anthony, Kansas. Frankie’s business life involved bookkeeping and secretarial work, the latter in the insurance business. Following the death of her husband, she managed the Cullison Lumber Company in Winfield.
For over fifty-five years Frankie Snow Cullison was a registered Girl Scout. She became a Brownie leader in the Winfield Girl Scouts. As a member of the First Christian Church in Winfield, Kansas. She became a qualified teacher of other teachers not only in Winfield but statewide in Kansas.
As a member of the Cowley County Historical Society, Mrs. Cullison was a docent and accessions secretary. She was a member of many Winfield organizations such as the Rossetti Circle, Baden Hall Preservation Committee, and Walnut Valley Quilters Guild.
One of her many friends in Winfield, Shirley Andrews, wrote the following on Wednesday, January 3, 2001, shortly after Mrs. Cullison’s death.
“She was past 90. It would be easy to simply say, ‘She had a good life.’ It would also be easy to simply say that she died as she lived. No death by inches. No dying before her life was finished. No excuses. It’s just the way things are. I knew that she was a business woman. I knew that she and her husband worked side by side for many years in the lumber business for a building town. She ran the business by herself when George went off to war. I knew that she was a church woman, a woman whose faith was important. I knew her to be a patriotic woman, one that believed in the democratic system of government, one who was pleased and proud to teach others to respect the flag of our country. She was a Kansas woman—she even shared her birth date (January 29th) with the anniversary of Kansas statehood. I knew her to be an active political supporter, willing to help at all levels of government. I knew her to be a volunteer, helping to preserve the heritage that is ours in local historical societies. I knew her to be a club woman, interested in the organization of women for social services to better us all. I knew her best as a Girl Scout volunteer.
“She was a Brownie Girl Scout Leader for more than fifty years. During her latter years, when the girls would sit on the floor, she began to sit on a chair in the Brownie ring. Her decision not to get up and down from the floor was one of the few concessions she made to an aging body with a youthful spirit. Brownie Girl Scouts, for her, meant that she could teach very young girls how to be friend makers, ready helpers, and learn things they might not learn at home: pride in carrying the flag; setting a table; and how to sing Brownie songs together. During the weekly sessions when Frankie Cullison was in charge of her Brownies, for an hour or so she taught them how to plan, solve problems, and get along. All of those things that people do for their own children, she did for others.
I’ve something in my pocket that belongs across my face,
I keep it very close at hand in a most familiar place.
I’m sure you would not guess it if you guessed a long, long while,
So I’ll take it out and put it on—it’s a great big Brownie Smile.
“Sometime in the 1980s Frankie Cullison purchased a computer, attending a neighboring junior college to learn how to operate it at a time when very few people used a computer. She wasn’t about to let this new revolution pass her by.
“Frankie Cullison lived by herself after her husband, George, died. She always had a cat. Frankie refused to get old even when time continued to accumulate. She was careful in later years about driving at night or driving when the roads were icy. Otherwise, she was quite willing to be an active participant in community activities, interacting with others in preserving the past for the next generation, and in teaching the present generation to look forward to the world tomorrow that they are shaping today.
“It is fitting that she should leave this life on New Year’s Day. Frankie Cullison left behind her what is no more and steps into what is becoming. Her model of strength is one seldom seen these days—she lived a life that is one for all to see. She lived, truly lived, until the day she died. And that day was the first day of the new millennium!”
Another friend of Frankie Snow Cullison, Janet Laws, had the following to say about this beloved woman.
“Frankie Cullison was a good and true Girl Scout. She was in at the beginning of the Girl Scout program in Winfield. She was a Brownie leader for more than fifty years. The annual week of camping at Camp Bradbury was special and she always had her Brownies camp in her own particular spot near the cabin. This was so much her place that we finally made a sign to identify it as ‘Frankie’s Corner.’ It was the only camping spot at Bradbury with a special designation.
“Frankie was committed and dedicated to the Four Winds Council Girl Scout program. She was always at the community meetings, contributing much to the strength of the program. Not only were there weekly troop meetings to plan and conduct but she marched in all of the parades with her Brownies—whatever needed doing. She could always be counted on to support the Council’s programs not that she always agreed with them! The little Brownies loved her—and she loved them. It was a good match.”
Donna Wilt of Winfield, Kansas, was familiar with Frankie Cullison’s scouting days.
“Frankie Cullison was instrumental in starting Girl Scouting in Winfield. Many little girls were given opportunities to attend camp and other activities such as sleep-overs and the Ice Capades in Wichita through her generosity and dedication. She always took the girls home who needed rides after the troop meeting. She was a unit leader at summer camp at Camp Bradbury and was a great story teller. She was a true Girl Scout for over sixty years.”
An ex-Girl Scout of Winfield, Dorothy Schwantes, had the following to say about Mrs. Frankie Snow Cullison.
“When our local Girl Scout Council was being asked to join a four-county council, Frankie was appointed to explain all the pros and cons of joining. She explained all the wider opportunities—meeting other Scouts from all over the county, country, and the world. She stated that a larger training camp for girls could be available to the girls within the four-county area. She presented it so well that I voted to join the bigger council. Months later I found that Frankie was very much against joining the council.
“Frankie was fair—and one of the sharpest and most interesting women I ever met.”
Dorothy Schwantes also related a story about Frankie’s ninetieth birthday party.
“A small group of retired Girl Scout leaders got together for lunch on each of our birthdays. Frankie never divulged her age. I noticed her headstone at the cemetery and it had her birth date. She would be ninety on January 29, 2000. For a surprise we decided to have a brunch at my house and invite all the Scouts we could remember that she had worked with. We invited about forty people. It snowed the day before. Frankie called and said she couldn’t come because she had a rule—not to go out when it snowed! I promised she would not walk in the snow. I had cleared the walks and someone would pick her up. But no! She had this rule. We were perplexed. The food was ready and we had about forty people coming. We decided to go ahead with it. I called her at the last minute and she still said ‘No.’ We had a party without the honoree. Some of us went to see her after the brunch and she was delighted that we celebrated her birthday. I always thought of Frankie as hard headed and that day—I knew I was right!”
SERVICES FOR FRANKIE SNOW CULLISON.
The First Christian Church held the final services for one of Winfield’s beloved citizens, Frankie Snow Cullison, at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, January 4, 2001. Rev. Shawn Sturm was the officiant. Casketbearers were David Seaton, Bill Howard, Brad Light, William Taylor III, Don Dietrick, and Wally Behrhorst; honorary casketbearer was Bill Long. Martha Brandenburg was the organist. Interment took place at Highland Cemetery, Winfield, Kansas.
A memorial was established in the name of Frankie Snow Cullison to the Cowley County Historical Museum and the Girl Scouts.