Fran Willemsen - 2003 Bernice Krumhansel Award






Fran Willemsen  

  • Contracted Polio in 1921 at 2  years of age.
  • Able to attend regular grade school and high school.
  • 1937 applied to two local hospitals and was turned down because she stated in applications or interviews that she had polio as a child.
  • Recognizing the problem this created in applying for a job, she did not mention the Polio when she applied for a job at a local bank.
  • After 6 months, Fran told her employer about the Polio. However, the bank was satisfied with her work and told her to forget the error in not supplying complete health information.
  • Fran worked for the Bank for 28 years, 18 in mortgage loan.
  • Obtained her real estate license and is a life member of the Akron Board of Realtors with 40+ years and still active.
  • Married and has a son and daughter who help her now. She also has a granddaughter.
  • Fran is active in her church, and has been a member since 1928 and a member of the Ladies Guild.
  • Past President of the Stow-Munroe Falls Business & Professional Women 1977 – 1978 and 1987- 1988
  • Travel Group – “Stow Sunshiners”-  went to Alaska 1999 and Hawaii 1977.
  • Founding member of  the Akron  Post Polio Group and has performed an excellent job as Treasurer since 1998.
  • Calls all members on a regular basis, sends flowers to members for various occasions and picks up members who can’t drive.
  • Also an active member of the Stark County Post Polio Group.
  • Treasurer of the Stow Historical Society 2003.
  • AARP 4060 Chapter Treasurer 1998 – 1999.
  • Current Board Member of the Ohio Polio Network.
  • Lives in Stowe, does her own cooking, laundry and light cleaning. Mows almost 2 acres with a tractor.
  • In overcoming the many obstacles of life, Fran represents polio survivors who believe that you cannot let a disease stop you from being all you can be and is an inspiration to others.
  • Fran is 84 years old and has the stamina, spirit, and enthusiasm of a 20 year old.
  • She has not let her disability hinder her in life. She is a role model in depicting what a support group signifies.The Akron Post-Polio Group loves her and feel the cheer and positive attitude that she brings to the members of the group. She continually promotes support to post polio survivors.

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