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Former principal, 20-year church secretary passes at 75

Black served St. Mary School in Paragould and St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Corning

Published: June 8, 2022   

Frances “Fran” Suzanne Zepecki Black, who served 20 years as secretary for St. Joseph the Worker Church in Corning, died May 8. She was 75. 

She was born April 28, 1947, in Scott Field, Ill., to Raymond Francis and Stephanie Lucille Rolek Zepecki. Before moving to Arkansas, Black was a physical therapist for Shriners Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.

At Corning High School, Black was a substitute teacher, interim Spanish teacher and band director. She coached Pee Wee basketball and minor league for several years. Black later became principal at St. Mary School in Paragould. She met John Graham on a blind date and the two later married Feb. 17, 1973. He died in 2019. 

A dedicated member of St. Joseph Church in Corning, Black served in various roles including cleaning the parish, playing the organ, bookkeeping and RCIA director.

For 20 years, she was the parish secretary, retiring in 2021. She told Arkansas Catholic, “It was a privilege and honor for a very long time.” 

She is survived by three sons, Mark O. Black, Gene E. Black and Michael J. Black; three daughters, Julie F. Black, Jennifer S. Black and Janice L. Patton; one brother, Robert Zepecki; and 10 grandchildren. 

A rosary, visitation and Mass of Christian Burial was May 14 at St. Joseph Church. Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Church. 

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