Frances T. Pyke Missionary to China

November 18, 1990

A memorial service for Frances T. Pyke, a former missionary in China who lived to 103, will be held at 3 p.m. today at the Timonium United Methodist Church, Pot Spring and Chantry roads.

L Mrs. Pyke died Nov. 5 of cancer at her home in Cockeysville.

The former Frances Taft was born in Beijing and educated in France and China, where her parents were missionaries. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1909.

She worked for two years for the Student Volunteer movement, seeking missionaries in the United States before returning to China. She was executive secretary of the YWCA in Shanghai and then as general secretary of the YWCA in China.

1914, she married the Rev. Frederick Pyke, whom she had known since childhood.

One of her jobs at mission schools for girls was to examine the feet of potential students to make sure that they were not bound, a Chinese tradition to inhibit the foot growth.

In the 1920s, she established an industrial school for refugee women in Taian. Students made embroidered items sold in the United States to support their families while they learned to read and write and received health care.

In the 1930s, she helped to start a Girl Scout troop in Beijing.

She was interned by the Japanese during World War II and came to the Baltimore area after being released in 1945.

She helped her husband, who was pastor at a church in Rising Sun and at the Broadway and Rogers Memorial United Methodist churches. She also helped him after he retired in the mid-1950s and became minister of visitation at Wesley Memorial and then at St. John's of Hamilton United Methodist until about 1970.

In the 1960s the Pykes organized the local branch of the Chines Overseas Christian Mission that served newcomers from China and later helped to organize the Chinese Christian Church of Baltimore, which will sing at the service.

Dr. Pyke died in 1976.

Mrs. Pyke is survived by a son, James H. Pyke of Chevy Chase; two daughters, Louise P. Bowling of Gaithersburg and Ruth P. Streckfus of Cockeysville; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

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