Remembering our friend Fran Jarrell
Paintsville, Johnson County and eastern Kentucky lost a true ambassador of goodwill when Fran Jarrell left this earth and entered her eternal home on Sunday, August 27.
I first met Fran in 2010 when I was working for the then-Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Everyone I met within the circle of chamber leaders from across the state pointed me to Fran. She was a consummate professional who was a vocal advocate for her home. We connected from the first time we met, and I quickly learned that her sincerity was not only a trait within her role of the chamber, but her genuine spirit was something that touched everyone.
There were, as I quickly learned, three Fran’s. Fran, the chamber director, while impactful, was just a small part of her life. She was a mother, and perhaps just as important, a MiMi to not only her grandchildren, but her extended family and close friends. As my friend, Adam Rice, who is from Paintsville and works as a field representative for Congressman Hal Rogers, said, “I didn’t know her as Fran… I knew her as MiMi.”
If being a chamber executive director, a mother and MiMi to many wasn’t enough, Fran was also a well-known hairdresser and owner of The Upper Cut.
What I’ll remember most about Fran was her desire to simply “tell it like it was.” Fran was not one to sugar-coat anything, but whether she agreed or disagreed, she did it with the utmost grace, class and integrity.
What I’ll miss most is our conversations about the future of Appalachia Kentucky. I’ll miss her insight, her experience and her expertise.
Paintsville and Johnson County has lost a true pillar of the community and a stern voice of reason, progression and unity.
Life is not measured by the years you live, but by the lives you touched. Fran was a valued friend, a trusted colleague and a voice that will continue to resonate through eastern Kentucky by those who called her mom, MiMi, or friend.
– Jared Arnett is executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR)