A. Frances “Fran” Thomassen Shaneyfelt, 74, a resident of Virginia Beach and former resident of Toledo, Ohio, passed away peacefully Thursday, July 11, 2019, after a year-long and truly courageous fight against cancer. This passing occurred with her family present to give her the comfort and love she always received from them.
She was born May 9, 1945, in Toledo, Ohio, to Charles and Frances Testa. This beautiful red-haired girl grew up to receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and master’s degree from West Chester State College in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She taught in private and public schools in Pennsylvania and Virginia Beach for 38 years. She joyfully retired in 2015 from Virginia Beach City Public Schools, exclusively teaching at Brandon Middle School since 1983. Fran had been a longtime member of the Catholic Church of St. Mark, Virginia Beach.
Fran received many awards and recognitions during her amazing career as a teacher including: 2004 Teacher of the Year for Brandon Middle School (Virginia Beach City Schools), Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2003 and 2006, VAST Earth Science Teacher of the Year (and a lifetime member of VAST, the Virginia Association of Science Teachers), the President’s USA Volunteer Service Award, multiple educational classroom connections with NASA-Langley Research Center (Hampton, Virginia), Curriculum and Textbook Committee chairperson, a mentor teacher for many student teachers, and a participant in a ZERO-GRAVITY flight.
Fran continued her strong support with education during her retirement by working with specialists for mandated Virginia state testing as well as substitute teaching. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.
She is survived by her husband, Ron; sister, Charmaine (John) Blaylock; and twin sisters, Charlotte (Jerry) Lammers and Charlene (Kit) Bettencourt. Fran’s sons have countless stories to always remember her as their mother and as a teacher. Her sons are Bernard (Angela) Koelsch, Philip Koelsch, Andrew (Melanie) Koelsch, Matthew (Katherine) Koelsch, Michael (Kristin Tardiff) Thomassen and Christopher (Erica Anable) Thomassen. She has two stepsons, Andrew (Tanya) Shaneyfelt and Aaron Shaneyfelt; and stepdaughter, Karinda (Eric) Harker. This large number of children provided her with 18 beloved grandchildren.
Visitation for family and friends will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 16, at the Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 1485 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach. A Rosary will be offered at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 17, at the chapel of the Catholic Church of St. Mark, 1505 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach. Following the Rosary, a Mass of Christian burial will take place within St. Mark, beginning at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Catholic Church of St. Mark, 1505 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23464.
Share online condolences with the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory.