Frances Josephine Scebor: 27 June 1948 – 28 December 2000
Frances Josephine Szczybor, affectionately called “Frannie”, was born on 27 June 1948 on the north side of Patterson Park, East Baltimore. She was the only child, to Josephine (Josie) Frances (nee Mioduszewski) and Frank Joseph Szczybor. Josie was a housewife and Frank ran his own home improvement company, specializing in flooring.
Frannie grew up on 126 N. Decker Avenue, in a neighborhood called Highlandtown, which at the time, consisted of mostly Polish decent. She was born in an era when the “lady of the house” stayed at home and cared for her family while the “man of the house” worked and provided financially for their family; an era when one hung clothes outside on a clothesline, washed their marble steps (daily) and had dinner waiting for their husband when he came home from work after a long day. In the evenings, families would sit outside on their clean and sparkling marble steps while the children played hopscotch, jump rope and ball in the streets. Sundays were a time when the family would attend mass and come home to their weekly spaghetti dinner! Truly a day of relaxation spent with family.
Frank and Josie doted on their only daughter and opened up their home to all of the neighborhood children. Everyone knew 126 N. Decker Avenue, as it was the site for many parties and gatherings – always the center of action!
Growing up, Frannie’s childhood activities included the pursuits of learning Polish and playing the accordion, neither of which was very long-lived! Some of Frannie’s favorite activities were dancing at the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), playing softball and trips to Ocean City, Maryland. She enjoyed spending time with her cousin Mania, her many friends and her family.
Frannie attended Holy Rosary Grade School and continued her studies at The Catholic High School, graduating in June 1966. After graduating from high school, Frannie accepted a position with the US government at Fort Holabird in Dundalk Maryland.
Marriage and Family
In 1967, Frannie married her childhood sweetheart, John Paul Grosskopf, and had what would be their only child: a daughter, Amy Lynn Rohrbaugh. (Frannie suffered a miscarriage several years later.)
John, only 19 at the time, served in the US ARMY and received orders to report to Vietnam shortly after he and Frannie were married. Frannie stayed in the States, as many young women did during this time, and awaited the safe return of her husband. She was also dealing with the premature birth of their daughter, who was in the hospital for two months after she was born. Sadly, John departed to Vietnam in August 1967, soon after Amy was discharged from the hospital, and didn’t return until late August 1968. Frannie and Amy lived with Frank and Josie during this time.
In the early 70’s, Frannie, John and Amy moved from East Baltimore to Bear Creek, a community in Dundalk, Maryland. John was now a Baltimore City Police Officer for the South-Eastern District. Times were changing and more women were going out into the work field. A homemaker until her daughter was about 11 years old, Frannie was determined and motivated to return to school and enter the workforce. Frannie had always showed an interest in the medical field and knew the importance of education, which she passed on to her daughter. At the age of 29 she was accepted into the Medix School in Towson, Maryland. This was an adventure for Frannie who stayed at home for many years and did not venture far from her community. Going back to school was a piece of cake, but getting there was another story! After many trial runs she was ready and eager to start the next chapter of her life. Frannie completed the course with honors, and obtained various positions in the medical field. Her positions ranged from medical assistant and phlebotomist, to medical billing in the Department of Surgery for The Johns Hopkins University. She definitely found her place in the work force, focusing mainly in the medical field, which proved to be one of fulfillment and success.
The next chapter in Frannie’s life came after her divorce to John, after 20 years of marriage. Amy was now in college and Frannie had a job that provided an income, which enabled her to purchase her own house. She made this house a HOME for her and her daughter. There was laughter and friendship within those walls just as the home she cherished growing up with her parents had. She hosted many parties and made everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Her passion was a good game of poker; many decks of cards were dealt and the excitement brought back many memories. There were myriad interests, which included Bingo, going to the Ocean City, Maryland shores, and duck pin bowling, a Baltimore sport. She watched proudly as Amy graduated not only from Salisbury State University but The Johns Hopkins University as well. Frannie knew she had instilled again the importance of education to her daughter.
Being a very social person and having a lively personality, Frannie participated in many activities, enabling her to involve her many lifelong friends, as well as make new ones. She had a very strong sense of family, and organized many events that gave her an opportunity to be with family and friends. The events could range from family parties, celebrations and holidays to her passions for bowling, bingo, playing cards (heck of a poker player), the theatre, her pets and spending time with her daughter.
Frannie’s presence was huge to say the least. She could command the attention of an entire room, always win a debate on any issue and make anyone laugh. Needless to say, those fortunate enough to know Frannie will tell you what an impression she made on them.
Frannie’s ambitions and desires were for the simple things in life: spending time on the beach with those that she loved, holidays with family and friends, a comfortable home, her family to be taken care of, and her pets. Most importantly she looked forward to seeing her daughter, Amy get married and have children of her own. She desperately wanted to become a grandmother.
Death and Legacy
Frannie was diagnosed with late onset, Type-II Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or more recently termed, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) around the age of 42. For years, she struggled with these diseases and in her late forties, over a period of just a few years, those close to Frannie watched the horrible toll this disease took on her, how it restricted and changed her life. She spent much of her time in and out of hospitals, coping with debilitating surgeries and gradually losing her independence. Although the challenges she faced were huge, Frannie remained in contact with her friends, attended functions and gatherings when she was able, and more importantly kept her sense of humor.
On 28 December 2000, at the young age of 52, and only one year after marrying George Harrison, Frannie passed away from complications of Type II Diabetes and Cardiovascular-related Diseases. Sadly, the combination of Diabetes and PVD proved too much. Sepsis (blood bacterial infection) set-in and ultimately won.
Her death left her family and friends devastated. After all, this was supposed to be the prime of her life, not suffering, loss and death.
Frannie never got to see her only daughter get married and meet her two grandsons who would have melted her heart. She did once have the opportunity to meet Troy Rohrbaugh; although she had no idea he would one day become her son-in-law. Her eldest grandson, Alexander, who is four and a half, calls her “Granny Frannie” and says, “She is our Angel looking over us from heaven.’
A full case history is in the process of being written. Details of medical management, hospitalizations, surgeries, wound care; home care and life-style adjustments will be shared. Why? In hope to give you the patient, the care-giver, the advocate or the health-care provider an inside look of not only how to adjust and live with these life-threatening diseases, but also to show you how devastating they can be both emotionally and physically on everyone involved. And to stress why carefully monitored medical management is necessary to live a normal, healthy and non-restrictive lifestyle, and ultimately to survive and beat these horrific diseases.
The Frannie Foundation was established in her memory to provide assistance to others who are affected with these diseases. But more importantly it is to assist with prevention, which is what will allow many to see their desires come true by living a long and healthy life.