Tom found in Frances a young woman with a sense of humor, wrote Heidi S. Swinton, President Monson's biographer. “She laughed readily,” she had a host of friends, she was “charitable and kind” and she exhibited “a great deal of empathy”
Although their entire married life revolved around church leadership, Sister Monson once recalled her surprise upon learning that her husband had been called to be an apostle.
“He came home one evening and said, ‘I want you to go for a drive with me.’” she told the Church News.
“I couldn’t imagine why, all of a sudden, he would want to go out for a drive,” she said. “We took our youngest son, who was 3. We drove to the This Is the Place Monument, where he parked the car. We got out and walked around the monument, reading the inscriptions dedicated to the pioneers.
“He then told me that President David O. McKay had called him that day to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.”
“I was surprised and humbled,” Sister Monson said. “That was a most significant call and an overwhelming responsibility, but it has been very rewarding. Our lives have been enriched.”
The Monsons have eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, according to President Monson's bio at lds.org.
She and President Monson were both awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Utah Valley University in 2009 for their years of service to the church and the community.
Sister Monson had a history of falling. In April 2008 general conference President Monson recalled “a terrible fall a few years ago" that left his wife in a coma that lasted 18 days, during which time he had wept at her side. Friday, Dibb revealed that her mother’s first serious fall occurred decades ago and left a lasting impact.
“With my mother and these various falls, her first severe fall was 30 years ago,” Dibb said. “My father had returned home from a trip, and she had fallen as she was replacing a light bulb on the outside patio. The result of that fall was that she lost her sense of smell and taste, and so she hasn’t been able to do so for 30 years.
“The recovery was difficult. But she knew that my father needed her, and that was a sure knowledge that she had. With that knowledge she would go forth with physical therapy. (I’m) grateful to see how my mother has struggled and fought with all of her strength to stay and provide and love us. That will always be a tribute to my mother (and) what she gave that I will always be appreciative of.”
Funeral services are pending.
Contributing: Tom Hatch
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