Back home in Chicago, Agnes Tully Stevens—the mom whose lifelong habit of saving family documents provided me with the material to start recording these stories—received the news of Frank’s passing as only a heart-broken mother could. I have heard mothers assert that it is harder to lose a child than it is to lose even a spouse. At this point, Frank’s mother was approaching seventy-eight years of age, but that would hardly dull the impact of this loss.
Yet, with dutiful precision, Agnes clipped and saved the local news article mentioning the loss of this hometown boy. A handwritten note at the top of the clipping noted the publication name and date, most likely the Chicago-area Southtown Economist. Another note at the side mentioned, “Pat wasn’t there,” an ever-present reminder that newspapers sometimes don’t get things right. Indeed, this one February 13th article failed to fully represent the facts with everything from a typo in the New Mexico city of Frank’s last moments, to the mistaken February 18 date given for the funeral.
Details like these seem important in retrospect to those of us researching family history, but for those undergoing those days, deep in the midst of suffering the loss itself, these things matter not one bit. The only change anyone would wish in that case would be to erase the very fact that this tragedy had occurred in the first place.
And there is only one Editor who could accomplish that.
Francis X. Stevens, 41, of Albuquerque, N. M., a native Southwest Side resident and retired Air Force master sergeant, was killed Feb. 4 in an auto accident at Almogordo [sic], N. M.
Requiem Mass was offered Feb. 18 in Queen of Heaven church, Albuquerque, and interment was in the National Cemetery in Santa Fe. Attending the rites were his brother, Edward, 8034 S. Paulina st., and his sister, Mrs. Patricia Kelly, 8620 S. Parkside ave., Stickney.
Stevens had lived in Albuquerque since his retirement from the Air Force two years ago. He also had served in the Navy in World War II. The Stevens family home was at 507 W. Garfield blvd. He was a graduate of St. Rita High school.
He leaves his widow, Norma, and four children; his mother, Mrs. William (Agnes) Stevens, Stickney; four brothers and one sister including John, William, Gerald, Edward, and Mrs. Kelly.