Frances Barna Sokul, age 89, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on September 3, 2020, one month shy of her 90th birthday. She was born October 3, 1930, in Franklin, New Hampshire to Simon and Bronislawa Barna. She joins her beloved parents and siblings in Heaven, including her brave brother Henry who was killed in Italy during World War II, her brothers Joseph, Slezlaw (Star), and Alfred, and sisters Stella, Helen and Wanda. She leaves behind her loving husband of 62 years, John H. Sokul, her two sons, John H. Sokul, Jr., and Stanley S. Sokul, both attorneys, two daughter-in-laws, Susan and Beth, and her five grandsons, Fletcher, Mack, Nathan, Daniel and Christian.
Born and raised in Franklin, Frances married her high school classmate, John, in 1958. They relocated to Newport, New Hampshire, where she lovingly raised their two boys with John who served as the principal and later Superintendent of Schools, SAU 43. Together, they instilled values of hard work, personal responsibility and family togetherness in their children. She was the proudest mother and her family was her world.
She loved to stay busy and worked at several jobs including positions with Lake Sunapee Savings Bank, Newport Hospital and as a real estate agent for Century 21.
Civic minded, Frances dedicated her time to various community activities and events including the Republican Party of Newport. She was well read and informed on current events, and was a keen observer of people and society. She loved local and national politics, and enjoyed discussing issues with friends and family – especially with her son John who has long been active in the New England legal and business communities, and her son Stan who worked in Washington DC for Senator Judd Gregg and later President George W. Bush. She particularly enjoyed the New Hampshire Primary Season.
When she retired she loved spending more time with her family. She and John moved from Newport to Concord in 2000, which allowed them to attend their grandsons’ festivities, school events, sports and graduations. Frances rarely missed a youth sporting event, and was a well-known and exuberant fan in Concord area basketball courts, baseball fields, hockey arenas and swimming pools. She kept meticulous notes and statistics during baseball games sometimes correcting umpires on ball and strike counts. Her greatest joy was spending time with her family. She and John also traveled regularly to Virginia and then Texas to visit and attend her out-of-state grandsons‘ events, ceremonies and graduations.
She cherished winter getaways to Florida, family visits, and many family beach vacations from Maine to Florida. She loved playing cards and games of chance and particularly enjoyed traveling to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos where she was known to win more than most. No family gathering was complete until lottery tickets were distributed and scratched and “winnings” counted.
Family history and traditions were very important and she hosted numerous family gatherings and holidays well into her late 80’s. Easter was her favorite holiday, where she took great pride in serving a traditional Polish Borscht. She was a fabulous cook and made incredible golumpki, pierogi, homemade onion rings and whoopee pies.
Among her many hobbies, one particular tradition that left a lasting memory for her grandchildren was her creation of a treasure chest with special items for each grandson that she and John presented on their 16th birthdays. She was able to enjoy her youngest grandson receiving his treasure chest this April.
She was active in the Beaver Meadow Community, and enjoyed the social gatherings in the “Cabana.” She enjoyed listening to music, especially Frank Sinatra (with whom she shared a first name) and the Rat Pack. When she found something exciting and interesting she summed it up simply with an energetic “Woo Woo Woo,” which her grandsons love to use to this day. She made the world a better place and her love and contributions will be greatly missed.
We would like to thank the nursing staff on the 3 South Wing of Concord Hospital, especially Laura and Evan, who helped make Frances’ last few days with her family comfortable, dignified and peaceful.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Paul’s Church, St. Gabriel’s Parish, Franklin, NH, at 9:30 AM on Wednesday September 9, 2020.
Burial will follow at the Holy Cross Cemetery in West Franklin. Social distancing and facial coverings are required.
Friends are invited to join the Sokul Family at Beaver Meadow Country Club, 1 Beaver Meadow Dr., in Concord following the cemetery service.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Merrimack County Nursing Home, Boscawen, NH, 03303, or to the 3 South Wing at Concord Hospital for their outstanding care during Frances’ last few days.
Thibault-Neun Funeral Home in Franklin is assisting with Frances’ arrangements. For an online guestbook, please visit www.neunfuneralhomes.com
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