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by Richard Barry

Many of you have enjoyed Mary Frances’ articles in Celebration Magazine for the past seven years. She inspires, motivates, and gives hope to so many people in many different situations. She often tells me, “I am happiest when I extend my hand to help another person." As her husband, I know firsthand that she has a real heart for helping others.

And, I want to share some of her extraordinary life with you.

Did you know Mary Frances earned her Nursing Degree and worked as an ICU nurse for many years at the Richardson Hospital? In 1993, she joined a team of doctors as a nurse and ventured far into the Amazon jungle on a medical missionary trip for nine days. Her team dedicated themselves to helping the primitive people of this region, most of which had never been exposed to modern medicine or healthcare. She says, “This was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

MFH loves to travel, so at the age of 53, she sent a resume to Princess Cruises. They were so impressed with all her volunteer work they thought she would make the perfect Social Hostess. Within days, they flew Mary Frances out to Los Angeles for an interview and hired her on the spot.

During Mary Frances' time with Princess, she earned the ranks as a two-stripe officer and was the Captain's right-hand assistant. Mary Frances was known as "The First Lady of the Ship." She even rode a camel in Egypt, an Elephant in Thailand, and a Donkey in Greece. Who would have guessed that? Not me!

Back home, in 1997, Mary Frances won the title of "Ms. Texas Senior America" and met me while I was performing in Alaska on the Star Princess. It was love at first sight for me, but it took her a couple of encounters to realize that I was the one!

Eventually, we got married in Alaska on “The Love Boat”, where the Princess staff closed the Observatory Lounge on Deck 10 for our wedding. The Captain was my best man, and Janet Edwards, the Cruise Director, was Mary Frances’ Maid of Honor.

It was fun to see the production singers and dancers as her bridesmaids. We have to say, there is LOVE, ON THE LOVE BOAT! Together, Mary Frances and I have been to all 138 countries and all seven continents. We even wrote a book together, called Cruise Ship Passengers Asked the Wackiest Questions.

Mary Frances is also a natural motivational speaker. Over the years, MFH has spoken to many groups about the Positive Side of Aging. This topic is one of her passions as she works hard to stay healthy both mentally and physically, always keeping a positive mental attitude.

Here's another thing about my wife that you might not know. Mary Frances was the liaison for the Neighborhood Watch Program in Frisco and participated with the Dallas Police Department in Crisis Intervention Training for many years.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a specialized police curriculum that aims to reduce the risk of serious injury or death during an emergency interaction between persons with mental illness and police officers. CIT has been implemented widely both nationally and internationally. Mary Frances' role as a volunteer actress, playing the part of mentally ill citizens, helps our local police officers l

earn how to treat, aid, and assist citizens with challenges.

Since moving from Frisco, Mary Frances continues to support the CIT Program in Collin County as a volunteer.

As you can see, MFH is more than a senior, a writer, or a Travel Consultant. She loves people, she loves life, and she wants everyone she meets, to live a positive life.

SOME of her Awards and Recognitions - There's too many to list!

• 2021 - Certificate of Appreciation Award from the Frisco Police Department

• 2017 - Scenario Training CIT Police Instructor of the Year

One of two civilians to ever receive this award

• 2015 - Excellence in Family Caregiving Award -Adult Protective Services

• 1998- Sigma Kappa Sorority Humanitarian Award

• 1997 “Miss Congeniality Award & Community Service Award

• 1995- Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Award Nominee

• 1992 - Awarded Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award – State of Texas

• 1990 - State of Texas Long Term Health Care

• 1989- The Sunshine Lady award at Heritage Village Nursing Home

• The First Recipient of the Alzheimer’s “Volunteer of the Year “ Dallas Chapter

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