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OBITUARY: Alexandria Living Legend Fran Redmon, 87

Head shot older lady dressed beautifully--blue background.
Fran Redmon, 1937-2024. (Photo: Redmon Family Collection)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Frances M. Redmon, wife of Gant Redmon and mother of Charles Gant Redmon III, of Alexandria, VA, passed peacefully on March 11, 2024, after an extended struggle with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

She was born in Collinsville, Illinois, on May 16, 1937, the only child of Herman Moritz Wilhelm and Frances Ida Wilhelm. She is survived by her husband of Alexandria; son Gant III of Boston, Massachusetts; granddaughter Hannah Winslow Redmon of Basalt, Colorado; and granddaughter Leah Virginia Redmon of Melrose, Massachusetts.

Young blind woman headshot in bridal gown.
Fran Redmon’s wedding photo. (Photo: Redmon Family Collection)

She attended the local Lutheran school until her mother transferred her to the public school where in the 4th grade she met her future husband, Gant. She and he both graduated from the University of Illinois in February, 1961, she with her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Education and he with his Law degree. They had married in 1958, the same year she was first runner-up and winner of the Talent Award in the Miss Illinois Pageant, a part of the Miss America competition. Previously, she had transferred from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to the University of Illinois and was elected president of her sorority, Sigma Sigma, Sigma, which had just installed a chapter there with the help of her Beta pin-man.

Fran started her fashion career on the College Fashion Board of Stix, Baer & Fuller, a St. Louis department store. She continued upon moving to the Washington area in 1961 as Assistant Fashion Director of Woodward & Lothrop, soon moving onto the runway as a free-lance fashion model in the frequent fashion shows sponsored by charities in hotels and embassies. She also was the house model for designer Nan Herzlinger in New York City and later privately consulted with individual clients in designing their wardrobes.

Fran took up voice and dance lessons and participated annually in the Hexagon Show, an annual original musical, political, satirical revue, written, produced, and presented by an all-volunteer group of Washingtonians. There, she pursued her dream of becoming a “total performer” who could sing, dance, and act. Later, she established an award in her name at the University of Illinois to be given annually to a sorority woman who most aspired to become a total performer.

Turning from her fashion career to volunteer projects in the arts and in her community, she moved from in front of the footlights to the board room of arts organizations and becoming a true arts advocate, even to the extent of sporting the license plates “ARTSVOTE” and “ARTSCAR.” She was active in the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and SOLA, its support organization, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Wolf Trap, Alexandria Singers, Little Theatre of Alexandria, Friends of the Torpedo Factory Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, BalletNova, Washington Ballet, Washington Choral Arts, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and others, usually concentrating on fundraising for each by chairing special events, often hosting such events at Tall Oaks, her home in Alexandria.

Older couple in black and white by their staircase.
Official Living Legends of Alexandria portrait of Fran and Gant Redmon, 2011. (Photo: Tisara Photography)

She was appointed to the Virginia Commission for the Arts by Gov. Jim Gilmore and served from 1998 until 2003 where she advocated for grants to arts organizations throughout the Commonwealth, but especially for those in Northern Virginia.

Fran and Gant were recognized as “Living Legends” of Alexandria in 2011.

See Fran’s Living Legend profile

The family expresses its deepest gratitude to Fran’s caregivers Lidia, Carla, and Joanna and to the entire Goodwin Living organization, especially the Palliative and Hospice Care team, and Fran’s neurologist Dr. Farrah Daly!

Arrangements are being handled by Every-Wheatley Funeral Home; visitation will be on March 15 from 5 until 8 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, Alexandria, on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 11 a.m. Interment in Ivy Hill Cemetery will be private at a later date. Contributions to Goodwin Living Foundation, 4800 Fillmore Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311 are suggested.”

From Washington Post Frances Redmon Obituary (2024) – Alexandria, VA – The Washington Post…/name/frances-redmon-obituary…

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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