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Meet Frances Black: Performing Many Roles over 41 Years at BISM’s Baltimore Manufacturing Facility

With hand on hip and wearing a beautiful scarf, Frances Black smiles beautifully into the camera.
Frances Black

A member of the BISM team for forty-one years, Frances Black is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

Frances has held many roles in our Baltimore manufacturing facility and has helped our organization grow to what it is today. Have you ever wondered who was the voice behind the person who blesses the food at our Baltimore Holiday parties? It is Frances!

Get to know her as she shares about her journey to Baltimore, reflects on her time here at BISM, and leaves us with words of wisdom as she prepares for retirement.

Do you mind sharing about your family life?
I have five children and they are all here in the Baltimore area. I have a total of thirteen grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren. My youngest grandchild is two years old. Family is especially important to me and when we get together, there are a lot of us. Twice a year, we come together for the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we have a big dinner at my sister’s house in North Carolina, where I am originally from. For the Fourth of July, everyone comes to my house for a family cookout.

You mentioned that you are a North Carolina native, what brought you to Baltimore?
Well, I was seventeen and ready to do what I wanted. Back in those days, parents said if you cannot follow their rules, then you can go and that is what I did. During that time, I had an aunt and a sister living here so I traveled north to stay with them. Soon after being here, I met the man who was to become my husband. Some things happened and I ended up returning to North Carolina, just to end up right back in Baltimore.

So, is it safe to say that falling in love was the reason you returned and stayed in Baltimore?
Yes! Absolutely! My husband and I have been married for 47 years.

What type of music do you enjoy? What gets you to shimmy your shoulders at your family cookout?
Gospel is my go-to. I love listening to Lee Williams and Shirley Cesar. I just heard the song “You Just Have to Go Through” by the Avery Sisters and I love it. I also like oldies. I cannot really listen to the new music that is out there today. The music that can take me back gets me to moving a little bit.

How do you think your co-workers would describe you?
I do not want to put myself up on a pedestal, but I think they would say that I am a good person who is caring and giving. I hope that is what they would say. You know, I think they would.

If you were on a deserted island and you already had all the necessities to survive, what three things would you take with you?
Okay, I would take my bible, my cell phone so I can play my music, and my husband. My kids are grown with families so they can take care of each other while I am gone.

What is the best complement that you have ever received?
I am thinking of the time working in the sewing department and one of the Associates, who is no longer here, referred to me as the praying lady. He did not know my name, but he knew me as the praying lady. I have received a lot of compliments, but that one was special to me. He saw that I was strong in my faith.

What show or shows are you currently watching?
I love old shows. I love watching Westerns and Perry Mason. My husband and I battle all the time because he likes the new TV shows.  When we cannot agree on what to watch, I just go upstairs  and watch TV there.

Who do you look up to here at BISM?
There are three people that come to mind. Shirley Barnes, who I call my daughter. She gave me that nickname when we were working in the old building. I used to always give her advice and she started calling me mama. Adrianne and I just clicked when we met, and she started calling me mama as well. Thomas Tyree, who also worked with me at the old building, is like my brother. He has always been there for me. If I ever needed anything, he made sure I had it and did not expect it back. That is truly my brother.

What do you have planned once you retire?
I plan to take care of some things around the house. I also plan on traveling. I will be headed to North Carolina and then over to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

What is your fondest memory of BISM?
The day I was chosen as the Associate of the Year. I really thought I was walking the red carpet that day! I got the chance to take a photo with the NIB President and even  was featured in a magazine. I was so proud of that moment.

What words of wisdom would you like to leave with everyone here?
Stay humble and go with the flow. My faith and belief in God has gotten me this far and I want everyone to know that.

It is abundantly clear that Frances has left an impression on everyone that has worked with her and we wish her all the best on her retirement!