Thomaston - Frances M. (Axelby) Rothe, daughter of Raymond T. and Minnie F. Axelby, passed away at Cook Willow Healthcare Center in Plymouth on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at the age of 99. Born in Salamanca, NY, she was raised in Plymouth, graduating from Terryville High School. She was employed at Seth Thomas, then Stromberg for several years before enlisting in the Women’s Marine Corps in 1944, serving at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, through 1946. She met her late husband, William E. Rothe, on a train heading to Washington, DC after the Second World War in 1945, and they married in 1947, celebrating 63 years together prior to his death in 2010. They moved to Thomaston upon his retirement from the Navy in 1963. She was also employed at Eclipse Glass Company prior to her retirement.
Fran was a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church for over 45 years, and a member of the Thomaston Congregational Church for 40 years where she served on the Diaconate, and was a member of the Women’s Fellowship. She was an accomplished sewer, making clothes for her daughter’s dolls, clothes for the family, and in later years, assisted in Women’s Fellowship projects such as making clothes for African children, and more recently, making masks for the pandemic. She previously volunteered at Black Rock Elementary School in Thomaston, and was a Literacy Volunteer. She was a 40 gallon blood donor, and volunteered at many blood drives.
Fran and Bill loved to travel, and often took group bus trips together. She loved UCONN basketball, and was a member of the Thomaston Senior Citizens, and the “Chatty Chicks”. As a competitive card player, she enjoyed the family “Scat” games and excelled at playing Scrabble, both on the computer and in person. She also loved attending summer concerts in Seth Thomas Park. A frequent visitor to the Thomaston Public Library, she was an avid reader and was often found with a book close at hand.
She is survived by a sister, Betty White of Thomaston; a daughter, Carol Pytel and her husband, John, of Thomaston; a son, Gary Rothe and his wife, Barbara, of Warner NH and Clemmons NC; 3 granddaughters and 3 great grandchildren. Fran was predeceased by her brother, Raymond E. Axelby, and her granddaughter, Caryn Pytel.
The family requests no flowers. In lieu thereof, donations may be made to: the First Congregational Church Steeple Fund; Thomaston Volunteer Ambulance Corps; or the Thomaston Public Library.
A service celebrating her life will be held at First Congregational Church of Thomaston on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 11 AM followed by a luncheon in the auditorium.