Frances ‘Fran’ Sherburne Bright, 94, served as Navy yeoman second class during World War II is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Frances Sherburne Bright
Frances Sherburne Bright

Frances ‘Fran’ Sherburne Bright, 94, passed away on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Bright was a native of Randolph, Vt., and a Peninsula resident since 1946.

After graduating from Simmons College in Boston with a business degree in July 1943, Bright went home to Randolph, Vt. She lived with her parents while waiting for her fiancé, William Bright of Newport News, whom she met while the two of them were in college in Boston, to return from military service in the Pacific.

By 1944, she felt a desire to serve her country and gain a new experience, so she joined the U.S. Navy as a yeoman second class and shipped off to New York City for training at Hunter College, then to a Stillwater, Okla., naval storage facility for a one-year stint as a secretary, where she sent most of her money home for her dad to save; although, he joked she kept him in ‘spending money.’ There was one leave back home to Randolph and long-distance travel was by train. After this, the more interesting stint for Bright was at Mare Island Shipyard in Vallejo, Calif., working for Admiral Joseph Herlihy, again as a secretary. There, Bright remembers enjoying the music shows and cable cars of nearby San Francisco with other Waves (Women Accepted for Volunteer Service).

At war’s end, it was back to Randolph to wait for William Bright’s return from the Pacific with the telegraph man in Randolph getting a kick out of the fact that her fiancé sent a telegram at least daily during his train ride back east. They “tied the knot” in September of 1946, and the state of Vermont gave them each $300, which is $3,899 in 2016 dollars.

Bright was a member of Yorkminster Presbyterian Church and a 60-year member of the Comte de Grasse Chapter of the DAR.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, William James Bright III; brother, John Sherburne; and son, William ‘Willie’ Bright IV.

She is survived by her daughters, Alice Sink (Gary) and Betsy Bright; son, John Bright; granddaughters, Jaime Sink Hammer (James) and Erin Sink Bagnall (Tim); and six great-grandchildren, Cayla Mutschler, Caleb Hammer, Jamie Hammer, Heather Hammer, Connor Bagnall and Teague Bagnall, who will miss her very much.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 9, at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Yorkminster Presbyterian Church, 6218 George Washington Highway, Yorktown, VA 23692.

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