2022 July newsletter article
Do Be a “Do Bee”
I recently got to spend time with Fran Lee. Many of you probably remember
her as Miss Fran on KAKE-TVs Romper Room which ran from 1965 to 1978.
She remains beautiful, vivacious, warm, and accepting as only Miss Fran
could be. She celebrated her 39 th birthday for the umpteenth time. When she
applied for the romper room position, she was chosen out of 800 applicants!
Do you remember the magic mirror? Miss Fran would say, “I see Mary Sue, I
see Bobby, I see Claude . . . “
I first met Fran and Claude, her husband, thru my oldest sister, Mary Beth.
They were all “young turks,” active in the local Democratic party. Mary Beth
ran for office in 1962. She lost in the primary election, but I got to meet some
wonderful people, all active in the Democratic Party. Back then in the 60’s
you had to have a “D” behind your name to win an election for a Sedgwick
County Office. Now, if you notice, every office seeker and every lawyer who
wants to be elected judge has a “R” behind their name.
In 1964 Claude and Fran hosted High School Young Democrats. We
campaigned and worked on the local “Johnson for President” campaign.
Frank Tice, who later became a federal judge, was the chairman of the
Sedgwick County Democratic Party at the time. We high schoolers were in
an upstairs area at the campaign headquarters. It was educational seeing
how people campaigned for political office and meeting party leaders. It was
a lot of fun being with other teens, doing campaign things like making
campaign signs, and placing telephone calls to voters.
Fran’s husband, Claude, was an attorney and became my mentor. Because
of him I had the dream and the vision to become a lawyer. He was always
there for me. He always put his hand out to help me. He wrote letters of recommendation for my law
school admission. He wrote recommendation letters for my application to take the Kansas state bar
exam and for admission to practice law in other states. He graciously gave me the use of an office when
I started practicing law as a young lawyer. He was a good man, and he finished his long law career as
Chief of Appeals for the State of Kansas, Department of Labor and Employment Division. I’m sorry to say
Claude passed away last year.
Claude and Fran made a home in Topeka in 1983 when Claude was appointed by Governor John Carlin
to serve as chief of appeals of state unemployment compensation for the Kansas Department of Labor.
Miss Fran currently still resides in Topeka with her son, Mike, and close to her daughter, Ann Marie.
I could write a book on the multitude of good things I was exposed to, and learned, from Claude and
Fran Lee. The most important is that education is important and opens doors for opportunity.
Miss Fran and Ann Marie
with the ‘Magic Mirror’