Frances M. Cypher crossed the threshold of heaven on Monday, August 3, 2020. As she once predicted and desired, she passed away simply from “being old.” Frances was born March 5, 1923 in Claytonia, PA. She was the eldest child, and the feisty (some would say bossy) eldest daughter, of Frank and Mary Jane(Puntereri) Ietto. A coal miner’s daughter, she moved to Center Township, Butler PA when her father achieved his dream of owning his own farm. The hard work of maintaining the farm gave her a solid lifelong work ethic which she passed on to her two sons. Life with her two brothers and five sisters on the farm was loud and full of pride in their Italian immigrant heritage and traditions. She graduated from Butler High School. She married her beloved husband, Lloyd Elery Cypher, on June 17, 1950. She was initially employed at Beltone Hearing Aid Center and then worked at the Butler VA Hospital in Central Supply and the Dietetics department. She retired from the VA after 26 years of service. She then worked as a file clerk at her son Ron’s OBGYN office, often opening the office, turning on the lights and even spreading salt on the sidewalks in the winter. Frances was immensely proud of her two sons, Dr. Ronald L. Cypher and Rev. Robert E. Cypher. She delighted in the idea that one son helped bring people into life on this earth and that her other son helped people into life in heaven. She attended First English Lutheran Church and later Victory Christian Center in New Wilmington, PA, where her son Rob and daughter in law Michele (aka Mickey) pastor. Francy was a devoted wife, accompanying her husband to his frequent dialysis treatments in the latter stages of his life. Upon the passing of her husband, she moved into the original Ietto family farm house with her sister Blanche. She resided with her sister until her health became more fragile and then she made her home with Rob and his wife Michele in New Wilmington PA. She lived with them for 11 years and it is firmly believed that her longevity was due largely to their excellent and loving care. Michele considered it a privilege and joy to have been her caregiver as well as her daughter in law, holding her hand through the transitions as common activities slipped away. Francy also loved dogs but was not so good about their nutrition as she fed hot dogs to Penny, boiled liver to Happy and candy to Spencer and Zeke. Each were great companions at one time or another.
Three words would sum up the focus of the life of Frances Cypher: food, family and faith. Her daughter in law Debbie recalls her spaghetti sauce, made with an added carrot “for sweetness.” Michele, with much practice and input from Francy, recreated her spaghetti sauce and won her approval. A joy for them both! Francy’s famous mashed potatoes were always made on demand for her granddaughters Heather and Kristin. She would make fruit salad for her son Ron’s lunch at the office, carefully removing the watermelon seeds. She could hold her own amongst her sisters when it came to baking pies. On one occasion, as told to her granddaughter Kristin, the Ietto sisters were determined to make three fruit pies. However they only had enough pie crust for one pie – so they simply made one very large pie with all three fillings. The issue of which of the sisters made the best pumpkin pie was never unanimously decided but loudly discussed. She was known to keep her grandson Luke’s favorite snacks and pop readily available and permitted him, unbeknownst to his parents, to drink coffee when he was way too young to do so. Her granddaughter Lauren developed her love of Lucky Charms from Francy who kept the cereal in supply just for her. Indeed her family, both immediate and extended, put the twinkle in her eyes. She was not only proud of her sons but adored her four grandchildren. Even when it was no small feat to do so, she attended Heather’s dance recitals and Kristin’s tennis matches. She would ask Luke about what he was interested in even though she had no idea what he was talking about (“Who is Spiderman? What is a Nintendo? Your music is… interesting.”). She appreciated Lauren’s dancing in the living room to the big band sounds of The Lawrence Welk Show, her grandmother’s favorite tv show. Francy grinned ear to ear when first holding her great granddaughers Julia in 2014 and then Jenna in 2017, marveling as their fingers wrapped tightly around hers. “They squeeze so tight!” She cried tears of joy in June of this year at the birth of her only great grand grandson, Elon. Her love reached from her heart in Pennsylvania to his in Sweden that no travel ban could block. She embraced her daughters in law, Debbie and Michele, and the spouses of her grandchildren, Jeremy (Heather) Peterson, Grady (Kristin)Sponaugle, and Mikael (Lauren) Wiberg. Michele will be forever grateful for the common bond of love for Rob that she and Francy shared, and for the love Francy so freely poured out on her children. While family was her great love and food was her calling card, her foundation was her faith. Her sons, Ron and Rob, remember her teaching them the Lord’s Prayer when they were young and then again teaching the same prayer to her grandchildren Luke and Lauren. She declared her son Rob to be ” a good preacher” even though she couldn’t always recall the sermon. She also said that “Michele preached every bit as good as Rob. He can take a day off.” She was thrilled to work alongside her son Ron in his office, though the staff had to get used to her lack of a filter. Her legacy of family, food and faith are treasures that will long be remembered and replicated.
Frances M. Cypher was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Lloyd, her sister Pauline Fontaine and her husband Bill, her sister Annabelle Blazewick and her husband Bob, and her brother Mickey Ietto. Surviving are her sons Dr. Ronald (Debbie) Cypher and Rev. Robert (Michele)Cypher, her four grandchildren Luke Cypher, Heather (Jeremy)Peterson, Kristin (Grady)Sponaugle , and Lauren(Mikael) Wiberg. She leaves behind her sweet great grandchildren, Julia and Jenna Peterson and Elon Wiberg. Also surviving are her sister Blanche Ietto, her brother Sam(Eleanor)Ietto, her sister in law Carol Ietto, her sister Virginia Lee(Philip)Ball, and her sister Joy(Roy) Rader, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Thursday August 6, 2020 from 5-7pm at Fox Funeral Home in Saxonburg, PA with the funeral service immediately following. Pastors Rob and Michele Cypher will officiate. Please note that visitors will be limited to 25 at a time, social distancing will be maintained and all in attendance will be required to wear face masks in accordance with the governor’s mandate. The family would like to also note the wonderful care provided by Becky Graham Welge and countless others from Victory Christian Center who provided Mom Cypher with coffee and cookies. She was well loved by the entire church. The family requests memorial donations be made to Victory Christian Center, 50 Victory Lane, New Wilmington, PA 16142. The family also requests that you love on your mom, your grandmother or your great grandmother in Francy’s memory. And maybe make a pie or mashed potatoes or have some Lucky Charms. And take the time to read and receive Romans 10:9-10 and say the Lord’s Prayer. Francy would love to greet you in heaven some day. www.foxfuneralhomeinc.com