Frances Kesel

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  • The daughter of Hyman and Bertha Aaronson, Frances grew up with her brother Ronald and sister Lynne in London. She lived for a period in Shiplake before returning to North London. She worked in clothing shops initially, becoming a popular Nursery School teacher in Stanmore in later years. She Married Henry Kesel on 22nd June 1958 and had been wed for 57 years when Frances died. Frances was a canny bridge player like her father, was an excellent cook and hostess. She had a caring and sensitive personality, and as a good listener, would always lend a sensitive or encouraging ear when it was needed and enjoyed sharing in the successes of family and friends. Frances was mother to Mark and Ben having her two children 20 years apart! Because she was told she could no longer have children after the birth of Mark, she referred to Ben as her miracle child. Between Mark and Ben, Frances cared for a foster son David Ellis who later moved to Australia. Frances was always very proud of her four grandchildren, David, Antonia, Zoe and Emily. She always asked that her granddaughter Antonia (a professional violinist) should play Schindler's List at her funeral and Antonia did so at the funeral ceremony.

  • 3 Reviews on “Frances Kesel”

    1. David Kesel Frances Kesel
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      My grandma was one of the most supportive people I know, always encouraging me with my ventures, praising successes and providing a sympathetic ear to my failures. She was also an amazing baker and made sure to take the time to bake cakes or biscuits for when the family got together or on birthdays.

      I will miss you grandma, Love David

    2. Lynne Engel Frances Kesel
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      My sister Frances was the best, we had a very close relationship for the whole of our lives! As children at home we either loved or hated each other, sharing a bedroom or parting company for a few days until we had forgotten what we had disagreed about, but once we reached our teenage years we understood each other and our lifelong closeness began, we shared our lives, our happiness in our families, in particular our children and grandchildren’s achievements. We could boast to each other for hours! I think it’s called mutual nachos!! My bridge has improved recently much to her surprise, and delight!! I will miss her forever,


    3. Mark Kesel Post authorFrances Kesel
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      Below is the text of the eulogy I gave at mum’s funeral. It sums up my personal memories and feelings about mum….
      My earliest memories of mum are of her singing to me at bathtime. That was more than 50 years ago now. But I can still remember the warmth, the scent of talcum powder, mum’s cheerful smile and soft soothing voice as she sang to me. She was such a warm and loving mother and she and dad gave me such a happy childhood. During those early years I remember the holidays she took me on, the cooking we did together – I loved standing on a chair next to the table, licking out the remnants of raw mixture left in the bowl and on the wooden spoon when she made one of her wonderful chocolate sponges.
      I fondly remember the day we drove around a block looking for the house of a friend in one of our very first cars. They didn’t build them quite as well as they do now in those days and we heard a clunk at various intervals as we travelled round the block. We missed the house and so, had to go around the block again and I remember mum having to get out of the car several times to pick up the various bits of car we encountered that had dropped off the vehicle the first time we had driven around. We did laugh!
      Mum was a wonderful and much loved nursery school teacher for many years. Later, she was regularly stopped by people saying ‘you used to teach me at nursery school’ and telling her what they were doing now. Dad ruefully often said that at that time he rather lost his identity becoming instead Mrs Kesel’s husband. I know the feeling dad….
      Around that time mum used to take classes in all sorts of hobbies and interests. Flower arranging was one, another was making flowers from colourful crepe paper which was quite a craze at the time. She was very good at it. Vibrant huge flowers they were, arranged in large pots. She made them for family and friends. Some of you may remember this.
      Mum was a fantastic mother to my foster brother, David, at this time (and later) providing a loving caring home to a child largely abandoned by his own family.
      But, she was unique in one way. She had two only children. – Mum had a child every 20 years. Many mums dread the phone call from their offspring at university saying ‘mum I’m pregnant’ Well, I had it the other way round. I remember vividly the day at university when I made a routine call home. We discussed the weather etc and then mum said. ‘By the way I have some news, you should sit down as it may come as a bit of a shock.’ I don’t need to sit down I thought, I was prepared for anything. Then she told me she was pregnant – I had to sit down! Having children every 20 years has the advantage that you also have two sets of grandchildren 20 years apart, something that has given mum so much pleasure.
      More recently we have spent many years of family holidays annually in a cottage with – mum, dad, me, Mandy, David, Antonia, Mandy’s mum and Ben (even more recently with Linda, Zoe and Emily too) These times together will be abiding memories of mum for me. They were a great bonding process for the family – (Mum’s father had done something similar for the family many years before). My strongest memories from these holidays are of the family games we played in the evening. Particularly a game called Articulate in which someone has to try to help the others guess the word on the card by defining it and giving helpful clues. This was all done against the clock. Probably one of the best moments was mum having the word barnacle and in the heat of the moment mistaking this for carbuncle. Well, you can imagine how she confused us royally when she explained where you might find them! I remember mum laughing so heartily over that.
      To sum mum up, she had so many great attributes, – having recently seen photos of her when a young lady I realise just how beautiful she was, she was a canny bridge player like her father and played every week, she was a great cook and was a brilliant team with my father. They were a real team. They had their defined roles but were utterly dependent on each other’s strengths. The loss of mum will be a bitter blow to dad as the loss of half a team will always be. It leaves a huge vacuum in dad’s life. She will be so sadly missed by him and all of us in the family as well as her many friends.
      And this brings me to mum’s greatest attribute. She was a wonderful listener. – A listener – This was why she was so universally liked. Many of us are good talkers but there are precious few good listeners. Mum always wanted to hear the latest news from her children and grandchildren, brother, sister, family and friends. She took such pride and nachas from her grandchildren’s achievements. Always lending an encouraging or sympathetic ear when it was needed and sharing with such pleasure in any successes or happy news. –
      That was mum, a great mother, wife, role model and listener. If I can be half as good a person during my life as you were in yours mum, I will be very, very proud indeed. God Bless.
      Mum always asked that at her funeral, her granddaughter Antonia would play Schindler’s list for her and Antonia has said she will try to do this now. No accompaniment unfortunately, but the important bit mum wanted, Antonia. Thank you Anto

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