ROCKLAND - My mother, Frances Gustin Kirk Drinkwater, died peacefully and quickly at the age of 95 at Windward Gardens in Camden.
She was born in Rockland, December 21, 1924 to John and Vita Gustin, of Palermo, Sicily. Her mother Vita came to the States at the age of 16 through Pairs Island, New York. She later married John Giornanni Giustiniano.
During her childhood she grew up on Front Street, known as Little Italy, with her three sisters and brother. Frances was the oldest of the five siblings, Marianne, Mary, Josphine, and her brother Tony. There was a five-year difference of age between Frances and her sister Mary but they shared the same birthday date of December 21st. From childhood on, all five of these siblings remained very close to one another with a very deep bond of love between them. Unfortunately, they lost their beloved Tony in the Vietnam War.
Frances first job was at Newberrys in Rockland. She was the “head cheerleader’ in the cosmetic and jewelry department. This is where she found her love for jewelry, shoes, and clothes. She will always be remembered wearing a band of silver bracelets from her wrist to her elbow. After she left Newberrys she started a career waitressing for the next 45 years. Frances was also known as Franny during these years. She became a favorite to many, and children especially like having her as a waitress. She would have your coffee in the cup before you got a chance to sit down. Being the generous women she was, she would pay for some of the customers who didn’t have enough money for their coffee and toast. She earned the nickname ‘Jingles’ while waitressing, because of the sound the band of silver bracelets on her right arm made as she was working. Many of her returning customers would bring her a new bracelet to add to her collection. Catering was another aspect of her career. At weddings she was always requested to cut the cake. I have been told by many and even to this day she was the best waitress in town during her career.
After her retirement she kept busy in the Soup Kitchen at the Rockland Catholic Church. Many deep friendships were formed at the soup kitchen, many of these ladies were special to her. She was a devoted Catholic woman, and her faith was important to her and within her faith she accepted the Lord as her personal savior.
A social butterfly is what some would describe her as. Years ago, she belonged to what she called the ‘Club Girls’, the sisterhood at the Catholic Church and The Red Hat Society. She was always busy running Shoe Clubs, Christmas Clubs and Better Home Clubs. She loved to dance, go for walks, traveling, warm summer days in the sun, scrapbooking and feeding the Blue Jays. Days of our Lives and the Golden Girls were two of her favorite TV shows. She also enjoyed dancing at weddings, going on joy rides and vacationing with her late husband Ken.
She was an avid knitter and made many gifts of hats, mittens, scarfs, baby blankets and afghans. She loved to donate some of her knitted items to the local schools and it gave her much joy knowing the kids would be warm.
Her gift of hospitality has touched many with special memories throughout the years. The coffee pot was always full and food was on the table whenever you came to visits. She loved having many family gatherings with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, and friends on Thomaston Street. She was an outgoing, very generous, kind hearted women full of joy and lived her life to the fullest. She will always be remembered as a fun-loving sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and wife by her family. Frances was full of compassion and love towards others and touched many lives and she will always be remembered by her contagious smile.
My mother Frances was an amazing woman. It’s not good-bye mom, it’s until I see you again on the streets of gold. Until then ‘Jingles’, keep dancing and smiling down upon us all.
She was predeceased by her first husband Richard Kirk; her second husband Kenneth Drinkwater; her beloved son John Kirk; her grandson Sgt. Joshua Kirk; her son’s first wife Jane Oldroyd; sister Mary Vanorse; brother Sgt. Anthony Gustin; her stepsons, Alan and Clyde Drinkwater; and son-in-law Peter Thompson; her niece, Noreen Munro; and brothers-in-law, Sidney Munro and Bob Darling.
She is survived by her daughter, Peggy Kirk Rogers; her two sisters, Jo Darling, Marianna Munro; her grandchildren and their spouses and children, Tracy Bartlett, Matthew Rogers, Andrew Rogers, Johnna Schoner, Jennifer Hammons, Jessica Tingley, Josiah Kirk, Jocelyn Fulton; and her late husband Ken Drinkwater’s family.
Family and friends are invited to visit from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, October 29, 2020 at Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 30, 2020 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 150 Broadway, Rockland. Mrs. Drinkwater will be laid to rest privately at Achorn Cemetery.