Frances Allison Alexander, 1923-2003

Alexander, Frances.jpg


Frances Allison Alexander, 1923-2003


Civic leaders


The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. James Richard Allison, Frances Allison Alexander was born in Columbia, SC on January 29, 1923 and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1943. Frances Allison married Sydenham B. Alexander, M.D. in 1944. They resided in Chapel Hill, NC from 1945 until 1966, where Dr. Alexander was Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, and both Dr. and Mrs. Alexander were active members of the Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church. Dr. Alexander served as Director of the University Health Services at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, from 1966 until his retirement in 1985.
During her career in Tuscaloosa, Frances Alexander was instrumental in a broad range of civic, educational, and religious activities. A founding member of the Children's Hands-On Museum, she served as a member of its Board of Directors until her death. An elementary school teacher for seventeen years, Mrs. Alexander tutored elementary school students as a volunteer for her entire life. She served as the senior warden of Christ Episcopal Church, taught adult education classes, led bible studies and was active throughout the Diocese. She was a life-long participant of Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, serving on its Board of Visitors and its Board of Directors. (From the Tuscaloosa News archives)

In 2006, she was inducted posthumously into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Material from the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama was used in this description:


Three characteristics of leadership rarely come together in one person. When these qualities are combined with passion, southern charm, and humor, and under-girded with a profound sense of love and service to others, the surrounding community will be changed forever.

The vision that initiates change – the determination that implements change – and the character that inspires change were all found in Frances Allison Alexander.

During her lifetime in Tuscaloosa, Fran Alexander was instrumental in a broad range of civic, educational and religious activities, all leading to a better life for those touched by her generous spirit.

Born January 23, 1923 in Columbia, South Carolina, Fran Alexander was a graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. And from the time of her arrival in Tuscaloosa in 1966, with her beloved husband, Syd, Frances was an active, involved community servant.

Perhaps her most visible legacy is CHOM - the Children’s Hands on Museum. As a founding member of CHOM, along with friends Helene Hibbard, Jane Ingram, and others, Frances was at the leadership center and anchored a driving core of believers in children’s education and enrichment to make CHOM a reality. She served on CHOM’s board until her untimely death in September of 2003.

Founded in 1986, the touch of Fran Alexander can be felt through CHOM, enriching the lives of thousands of children every year through the largest museum and educational center for children in West Alabama,

But that wasn’t the sum of her contributions as a community servant. A longtime teacher, Fran worked just as hard after retirement, putting in 20 years as a tutor at Alberta Elementary School and giving her time to numerous civic, service and religious initiatives.

Her vision and drive was evident in the lives of children. Fran was an early volunteer through the medical alliance and adopt-a-school program, and she saw the need for expanding new boundaries and encouraging retired teachers, business people and others to volunteer, thus beginning the Alberta Pals Program, which has touched the lives of literally thousands of young people.

Another recipient of Fran Alexander’s talent for initiating big ideas and inspiring excellence was her work with the family of Christ Episcopal Church. Fran was a leader in the Episcopal Church women – an early leader in the Cursillo Lay Renewal Movement of the Episcopal church statewide, helping hundreds to grow in their faith. Fran also spearheaded the formation of senior ministries at Christ Church, touching people daily with her caring and giving spirit.

Fran Alexander’s tireless efforts resulted in many tangible, lasting contributions in a variety of civic, educational, and religious areas of our community. Perhaps even more significant were the qualities she demonstrated and encouraged as a mentor and role model to a generation of young community leaders – the qualities of ethics and morals in decision making – the basic principles of justice and always doing what is right, fair and good.

Fran Alexander left a legacy for many women and a new generation of community servants, teaching others to lead with grace and humanity. She made life better for everyone she touched and for all of us.


Tuscaloosa News Archive
Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama


Brenda Harris (Description)






Tuscaloosa County (AL)

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