Sara Frances Murphy Whetsel, age 82, of Morristown passed away peacefully Saturday October 17, 2020 at Turkey Creek Medical Center in Knoxville. She was born in Williamsburg, KY, daughter of Ernest and Pauline (Davis) Murphy, but was raised in Miami, FL. Brought up in the Methodist faith, she attended Emory University in Atlanta, where she met her future husband, the Reverend Charles (Charlie) Whetsel, who was a student at Candler Seminary of Emory University at the time.
Frances was married to Charlie in 1957 and left her studies when Charlie was ordained as a minister in the United Methodist Church. During their marriage she supported his ministries at congregations across the Holston Conference including Baileyton, Dandridge, Dayton, OH, (while Charlie served as Chaplain at Wright Patterson A.F.B.), Dayton, TN, Cleveland, Bulls Gap, Jefferson City, Piney Flats, Morristown, Greeneville, Rogersville, and Sevierville. Once her children were of school age, Frances completed her education at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City and worked as an elementary and middle school teacher and librarian for over 23 years before retiring in 1997. She later earned a M.A. in Library Science from ETSU while she was teaching.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Charlie Whetsel, who passed in 2018. She is survived by her daughter Marcia Gay Whetsel, of Morristown, a retired Hamblen County teacher; son, Charles William “Bill” Whetsel, Jr., an engineering manager with NASA’s JPL as well as her daughter-in-law, Anne Louit and grandchildren, Sebastien, Maÿlis, Isabelle, and Camille Whetsel, all of South Pasadena, CA.
She is also survived by her sister, Betty Murphy Kensak Breen and nephew Michael Kensak, both or Orange City, IA,; her brother-in-law, Neal Whetsel of Knoxville; nieces and nephews, Bob and Chuck Carter, Donna Carter-Kanipe, Jason Whetsel and Laura Whetsel Treadaway; great nieces and nephews, Cameron and Ethan Carter, Rachel Carter Newsom, Brandon and Nolan Treadaway and special friends, Shelia, David and Logan Whitt and Steffen, Patisa and Sophie Kielau.
Private interment services will be held for the immediate family only at the First United Methodist Church Memory Garden. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to First United Methodist Church.
Allen Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
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