ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
December 14, 2018
This is a letter to our friends –
Honoring my wife – 65 Years
An extraordinary woman!
Frances Hudgens graduated high school in Dallas. Soon thereafter she became a student nurse. Her older sister was engaged to my room-mate in college. Bob did not have a car. I offered to take him to pick up his girlfriend and take them to her house.
Fran and her little brother were on the floor shaking Christmas presents. Eighteen months
later I was on leave from Aviation Cadet school and called the older sister to arrange blind dates for a buddy and me. Fran and I have been dating ever since!
We corresponded while I was overseas. I returned and was stationed in Waco. We married shortly before she became an R.N., December 19, 1953. After graduation she joined me in Waco and became an Air Force wife.
A that time there was no assurance I could finish college while in service. After accepting an honorable discharge, I entered SMU in Dallas on the GI Bill. It turned out that Fran is a gifted surgery nurse. While I studied engineering, she was scrubbing in on the very first pediatric open-heart surgeries.
Our first daughter, “Ginger”, died in her arms (crib death) as we raced to the hospital where she worked. She kept her head and activated the ER crew as she carried Ginger down the hall. Ginger was 18 months old.
Both of us thought we were Christians. I had discovered that God provides. I kept sending Him shopping lists since I left high school. It had never occurred to me to say. “Thank You”.
During my Senior year at SMU, Fran was in charge of the campus infirmary. She was loved and respected by all.
It appeared to me that engineering careers progressed toward science or administration. I chose administration and applied for a 2-year MBA course in Massachusetts. Fran was offered a position as supervisor of a home for troubled boys. Once more, she was outstanding in her duties. The position came with an apartment for her family, our son Guy, was one year old.
I received an MBA in 1960. The student wives received a PhT certificate (Put hubby Through)! I was hired by a firm in Houston and Fran (Pregnant with Fawn) and Guy followed. Oh, the amazing grace of loving wives! Anita Fawn was born in Houston.
After a year, learning the business, I was given the sales territory from Georgia to Maine. We were moved to Infield, Connecticut. I left on Monday and returned on Fridays. The name of the game was to get snowed in rather than snowed out! During those long winters Fran was drawn back to serious Bible study. Our pastor at that time did not believe in the virgin birth. She kept a warm loving home for the four of us.
While in Houston, a fellow worker had given me a copy of, “Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry Goldwater. I had slept through civics classes. This little book excited me. [Note – There were no computers or television in the mid-1960s. News east of the Hudson River, came exclusively from newspapers, magazines, or three radio stations. The Christian and Conservative book industries were just beginning.]
I bought a case of Senator Goldwater’s book and went up my street giving them to neighbors. That led to organizing the Connecticut grass-roots movement for Goldwater’s bid for President. Fran organized and led, “Goldwater Girls of Connecticut”. These ladies were trained in crowd control and could hold their own in political discussions. They had a significant role in the state campaign.
We attended the National Convention in the San Francisco Cow Palace. On that trip we decided to move to California. Once settled in Fremont, I looked in a phonebook for a church. There it was, “Conservative Baptist Church”. If it was conservative, it had to be good! At the close of the sermon the Holy Spirit peeled me naked like a banana! I realized how patient God had been with me. Jesus Christ forgave my sins. Both Fran and I dedicated the rest of our lives to His lordship.
My business career moved us to Upland in the Los Angeles area. We purchase our first house. Fran was again a surgery nurse. We were involved with Teen Challenge. The Holy Spirit was schooling both of us! The “Jesus Movement” was in full blossom. We had front row seats! A spin-off of the Assemblies of God, YWAM, was just taking shape. Guy and Fawn were pre-teens. Our youngest, Susan Annette, was born. Fran’s gift of hospitality began to surface.
We inherited a business and place to live from my parents in Morgan Hill (2 hours south of San Francisco). We weren’t wealthy, but we lived like we were! YWAM missionary leaders from around the world used our home as a way-station. The Lord called us to make a long-term commitment to the mission field with YWAM.
We served 5 years fulltime with YWAM. Attending school in Kona, HI and living in a tent on a mountainside. Taking the girls on a 12-month mission trip around the world (37-nations). Discipling an outreach team that served the first “Washington for Jesus” event in D.C.
During that time, son Guy, ran the family business. He says, “When I was 18, my family ran away from home!” Our kids have turned out well because Fran made up for my faults. Upon returning to the business world the Lord led us to the founders of FACE in San Francisco (Foundation for American Christian Education). We both developed a passion for America’s Christian history.
I was invited to write a newspaper column. Fran began home-schooling Susan. That led others to ask her to teach their kids and Fran soon had a 40-student one-room-schoolhouse. To this day she continues teaching. As we were becoming involved with FACE, I filed as a candidate for the state legislature. With all her other accomplishments, she became a politician’s wife! I was nominated three times and Fran held steady through a decade of political turmoil.
We wanted to buy a home. Morgan Hill was out of our range and our business could operate from anywhere. The market fell in Sacramento and we purchased a home from the bank in Citrus Heights. Our kids have families of their own now. They all love one another, and you can’t tell the in-laws from the out-laws!
Throughout this whole life-adventure Frances Hudgens Gilmore has been a model wife. You can read about her in Proverbs 31! She is an inspiration and a blessing from the Lord.
These columns are archived since 12/10/09