Frances C. Wierum, 103, homemaker and pianist

March 21, 2006

Frances C. Wierum, a homemaker and pianist, died of heart failure March 14 at her home in Trappe. She was 103.

She was born Frances C. Woods in Upland, Pa., and was raised in Severna Park. She attended Miss Holliday's School in Annapolis and after graduating in 1919 from Friends School, then on Park Avenue, studied piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

She was married in 1924 to Carl Wierum, a 1922 graduate of the Naval Academy, After his retirement from the Navy in 1933, they moved to Rockville Centre and later to Huntington Bay, both on Long Island, N.Y.

In 1965, when Mr. Wierum retired from Brooklyn Union Gas Co., where he had been industrial sales manager, the couple moved to a home they had designed and built in Trappe overlooking Island Creek. Mr. Wierum died in 1989.

Mrs. Wierum was interested in fashion design and playing bridge. She was also an avid gardener and was especially fond of growing roses.

Reaching centenary status was a combination of good genes, exercise and eating exactly what she wanted, family members said.

"She kept her weight around 110 pounds and used to enjoy dancing to Guy Lombardo records," said her daughter, Virginia Lee Bennett of Pasadena. "She walked two miles a day and when she became confined to a walker continued walking on her porch. She also lifted 2-, 3- and 5-pound weights.

"She never smoked, but everything she cooked was dripping with bacon fat, butter and cream," Mrs. Bennett added. "And she liked her martinis straight up. She'd order a Booth's, no vermouth, with only a glass of ice on the side. And sometimes she'd drink brandy with a little cream."

Mrs. Wierum, who enjoyed playing both classical and popular music, played her piano the day before her death, her daughter said.

Mrs. Wierum attended St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Trappe, where a memorial service was held Saturday.

Also surviving are a son, Dr. Carl Wierum of Demarest, N.J.; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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