Frances Elizabeth (Nissly) Davis
LAVALE - Frances Elizabeth "Fran" (Nissly) Davis, 83, of LaVale, passed away Monday, March 23, 2020, in Cumberland.
Born July 22, 1936, in Lititz, Pa., Mrs. Davis was the daughter of the late Christian "Christ" Nissly and Frances (Helman) Nissly.
Fran is survived by her husband, Robert "Bob" Davis, LaVale; her daughter, Christine Hilt and husband, Vern, Hazelton, Pa.; and her son, Matthew Davis and wife, Lisa, Germantown.
Those who knew Fran, knew how much music and art were a large part of her life. She learned to play the piano, flute, and harp at a young age. Fran found an affinity with the harp and began playing in symphonies and orchestras, expanding to corporate events and weddings as she grew older. Outside of music, Fran learned to paint pottery with her mother and enjoyed helping her father at his furniture company.
A graduate of Millersville College in medical technology, Fran worked for several years in medical research at Saint Joseph Hospital, in Lancaster, Pa. However, she still was a student of the harp and it was while studying harp under Carlos Salzedo, in Camden, Maine, that she met a local Camden resident who was to become her loving husband. Fran and Bob married in 1964, and lived in Maine until moving to Maryland in 1968.
After settling in Maryland and starting a family, Fran continued to play harp for theatrical productions and returned to painting. She was active in the Fiber Artisans and the Music and Arts Club from the 1970s to 1990s. For more than 20 years, Fran taught tole and decorative painting (in essence, that is painting on anything that doesn't move). To her dedicated students, she was a mentor and shared in their joy of learning.
At home, Fran always loved making wonderful and flavorful Pennsylvania Dutch meals and desserts for her family and friends. She was fond of working in her gardens and keeping flowers and plants at their home. She was a member of Saint Paul's Lutheran Church, in Cumberland, and made sure her family always thanked God for all His blessings.
A devoted mother, Fran often reminded her family to "be smart, be sweet, be kind." She was deeply loved and will be sorely missed.
A private funeral is scheduled for immediate family members with Pastor Steve Haptonstahl officiating.
Interment will be in the Maryland State Veterans Cemetery at Rocky Gap.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Maryland Chapter, 1850 York Road, Suite D, Timonium, MD 21093; or the American Cancer Society, 1050 East Industrial Boulevard, Suite 3, Cumberland, MD 21502; or the UPMC Western Maryland Hospice Services, 1050 West Industrial Boulevard, Cumberland, MD 21502.
The family would like to thank the Cumberland Healthcare Center and the UPMC Western Maryland Hospice staff for their dedication and care of Mom.
The Adams Family Funeral Home, P.A., 404 Decatur Street, Cumberland (, is in charge of the arrangements.
Published on March 25, 2020


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Gail Cross
Mar 27, 2020
Funny thing, I was just thinking of Fran a few days ago and have just learned of her passing. I had called Fran with interest in tole painting and had shared with her that I couldn't even draw a stick man. She assured me, "I can teach you to paint" and she sure did! A sweet and caring person! God Speed Fran!
Mar 26, 2020
She was a teacher to me in Tole Painting. I have been painting for a long time now and I think of Fran often. She was a great person and I think of her every time I paint anything. Have peace Fran and Heaven has gained a wonderful person.
MaryLou Knieriem
Mar 26, 2020
I have many fond memories of Fran, having taken tole painting classes from her for many years. She was witty, talented and dedicated to her students. I looked forward to those Thursday night classes and the friends I made and the art Fran helped me create.