Frances "Franci" Tarson
Frances (“Franci”) Pepper Tarson, 92, Nyack, New York, died on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, after a short illness at Nyack Hospital. Franci was born and grew up in Berkeley, California, where she attended the University of California. Her father, Stephen C. Pepper, was a professor and head of the Art Department. Franci excelled as an actress in college, playing, most notably, Goneril in King Lear, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, and Catherine Sloper in The Heiress.
Franci later obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Theatre from the University of Washington. She then came to the East Coast and worked at both Princeton and Yale as an academic secretary. At Yale, she met her future husband, Theodore (“Ted”) Tarson in a college production of Danton’s Death, cementing their mutual love of theatre and each other. After they married and she gave birth to her sons, Derek and Geoffrey, the family moved to Nyack in 1965 where Franci and Ted have lived ever since. She served as President of Coburn Lands Trust, a Maine landholding corporation, in the 1970s, and, in an idea ahead of its time, tried to launch a company to manufacture ethanol out of wood pulp as an additive for automotive fuel.
She was very active with the Nyack High School Drama Workshop and Drama Angels (to financially support Nyack High School’s theater department); and, later, became a treasured member of Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack, where she performed, notably, as Esty Crampton in Morning’s At Seven, Fanny Church in Painting Churches, and Ellen Creed in Ladies in Retirement. She served as Assistant Treasurer for Elmwood for 31 years and was awarded their highest honor, life membership, in 2000.
Franci’s enormous warmth, wit, and wisdom will be missed by many in the community. She is survived by her husband, Ted, her sons, Derek and Geoffrey, her daughter-in-law, Holly, and her grandson, Peter. A memorial service is being held at Hannemann Funeral Home in Nyack on Saturday, June 23rd at 12:00. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Franci may be made to Elmwood Playhouse (www.elmwoodplayhouse.com) or to the American Cancer Society.