Frances Mae Fleming-Bouldin was born on October 23, 1930, in South Boston, Virginia. She was called from labor to reward on June 25, 2023, and according to Psalm 90, … ‘’by reason of strength”, Mother lived to be 92 years old. She was the oldest of two girls born to the late Charles and Martha Fleming-Faulkner. As a young child, she attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School, where the administration soon determined that she needed to be skipped from the 2nd to the 3rd grade. Upon her birth, Frances had lived in a small three-room house that was home to three generations of family members. Which were her grandparents, her parents, her Aunt Geneva, her only sister and her cousins. Her grandfather was a sharecropper harvesting tobacco among other crops, there on the land. Mother shared with us a few weeks ago that as the family grew, they finally moved out into a bigger house. Causing their rent to go up from $2.00 a month to a whopping $3.00 a month.
As was the custom, the entire family attended church a minimum of three times each week. It was then during her youth, that Frances accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord. She became involved in the church’s youth groups such as the Hourly Young People Bible Class (HYPBC), various church programs, as well as being Secretary of the Sunday School. Upon graduating from grammar school to high school, Frances was selected to be the Halifax County High School Historian. While a student there, she was also a member of the high school’s choir and the Public High School Speech and Debate Association. She had learned to read from her Aunt Geneva, who lived in the house along with the rest of Mother’s family. Her aunt Geneva was blind from birth and had learned to read braille. Aunt Geneva taught her to read from her own memory of books and articles that she had read from braille, having attended various training schools for the blind in her youth. There’s no doubt, that it was Aunt Genova's influence that developed Frances’ own memorization abilities, and so she excelled in speech and debate competitions throughout the county. Because of the investment that Aunt Geneva made in her life, Mother Bouldin clearly recognized that it is each of our responsibilities to teach, encourage and provide always for all family members at every opportunity. And she lived it, both by word and by deed!... Her high intellect and recall ability was evident throughout her life and continued to astound us, even up to the day of her passing. After graduating high school, her mother had to work two jobs, and Frances enrolled in Fayetteville State Teachers College, presently Fayetteville University. In college, her favorite subjects were Science, Biology and English. During her two years at Fayetteville State, she aspired to be among the first black lawyers for the defense of civil rights.
Mother Frances Bouldin will always be remembered and cherished as the “Wise and Loving Matriarch” of the entire Bouldin-Johnson family. She, who always led by example, was the glue that held the entire family together. She was the truth, the voice, “led of the wisdom of God” that would guide us through life’s chaos. She was our rock. With her knowing the value of higher education, owning your own businesses, and property ownership, Mother continually encouraged each generation to strive for greatness, set a goal, make a plan to better ensure success in this life for both ourselves and our children. Her warm demeanor along with her love of people, her wit and “fantastic sense of humor” is a rare find these days. “Like Precious Gold”, we will continue to value her impact in our lives. Leadership, compassion, hospitality, and benevolence were her trademark. It was her way of representing or rather “re-presenting” Christ so that others would see Him throughout her own life. Mothers’ prayer life was that of a committed prayer warrior. Praying always for family members, friends, situations and all that the Lord would lay on her heart. She’d pray when she opened her eyes in the morning, she’d pray when she laid her head down to rest at night. Coming to terms with her fate and God’s will in fulfilling His promise to return for her, she immersed herself in the most beautiful, intimate worship of God for almost every waking minute of every day for the last few weeks of her life. This final season of her existence was committed to sharing the power of the gospel to each and every person that came into her atmosphere. “Ninety-Two Years.” A full and complete life of dedication to her Lord and Savior, her family, friends and the world. The last things that she stressed to us over and over these past months was, “be good to everybody, treat everybody right’’, “tell the truth’’, and… “Let Jesus into your heart”.
Mother Frances Bouldin was a dedicated member for fifteen years of Greater Little Rock Miss. Bapt. Church of Newark, NJ where Rev. Carl M. Green is the pastor. Members often fondly recall how Mother Bouldin would enter into the door of the sanctuary, “with hands lifted up praising her Savior” …Prior to her retirement, Frances was an employee for the New Jersey Transit Corporation at their Newark Penn Station hub.
She is preceded in death by her parents Charles and Martha Fleming - Faulkner. Her three husbands, Willie Harper, Ernest Johnson, and Roger Bouldin. Her sister Eva Gerst, her niece Debra Gerst-Harden, her nephew Michael Gerst, her daughters Brenda Bouldin-McClary, Rosa Johnson, Constance Johnson-Ledbetter and Karen Johnson.
She leaves to cherish, in her memory three devoted children, Marvin (Marilyn) Johnson, Donna Johnson-(Shake) Mitchell, Michelle Harper-Harris, one niece Barbara Gerst, 19 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren, 36 great great grandchildren, as well as a host of relatives and friends.