Frances LeMay Heineman Janssen

Honored By

Honored by: Janssen, Frances Heineman
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile, Small

A native Tucsonan, Frances LeMay Heineman Janssen was born on April 20, 1934, the daughter of Robert Emil Heineman and Kathryn (Mial) Heineman. Fran was the older of two children. Her brother is Robert M. Heineman, an architect in Massachusetts. They grew up in Tucson when residents did not bother to lock their doors. Fran's parents were very involved in Tucson's culture. Experiencing art, symphonies and plays became enjoyable activities, but Fran's piano lessons were less successful.

Fran's parents were college graduates. Kathryn Mial, born in New York City, received her B.A. in art from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, in 1924. She was recruited to teach art at the University of Arizona, when art courses were part of the home economics department. Her students included Ted DeGrazia, the well-known painter, Ann-Eve Mansfeld Johnson, an extremely talented Tucsonan, and Clay Lockett, who became a leader in the field of Native American art.

Fran's father, Robert Heineman, a native of Detroit, Michigan, held geology (B.S.) and mining engineering (M.S.) degrees from the University of Arizona. He was a professional in the Arizona Bureau of Mines, then part of the U of A. With her marriage, Kathryn had to resign, due to a nepotism policy prohibiting spouses of university faculty from being employed, even though her husband was not teaching.

After attending Sam Hughes elementary school and Mansfeld junior high, Fran was graduated from Tucson High and Wellesley College (B.A. 1955). She majored in English and also studied history and art. She was the first college intern to work in Senator Barry Goldwater's Washington office in 1954. After mornings spent answering mail, Fran was free to watch firsthand the 1950s political scene on Capitol Hill, including the Army-McCarthy hearings and testimony by Nelson Rockefeller on the need to improve Social Security financing.

In a senior Wellesley literature seminar, her professor praised her abilities to put together a research paper and present the subject, commenting that she would make a fine teacher. Fran, however, had no desire to teach and did not know what career direction to take. After graduation she returned to Tucson, took business college courses and thought seriously about a job. Perhaps an English major, even without formal journalism training, could work for one of the Tucson newspapers. At her interview with Vic Thornton, managing editor of the Arizona Daily Star, he said, 'I'm sure you can write, but the question is, what will you write about?' Years later, Fran realized the desired answer what not 'history and economics,' but 'food, fashion, weddings and club news,' the staples of the women's department where she was hired. The challenge of the social column did appeal to her, and she produced reams of popular reading material.

Through a Wellesley alumna friend, she met a dashing Belgian, Pierre M. Janssen, an instrument flight instructor at Marana Air Base. He invited her to go flying with him, and she enthusiastically agreed. It was the beginning of a relationship that culminated in a long, happy marriage. Fran and Pierre became parents of two daughters, Kathryn LeMay and Victoire Helene, who were married to Guy Velgos and Scott VickRoy. Fran has four grandchildren, Alexander 'Sasha' and Michael 'Misha' Velgos, and Susannah and Jeffrey VickRoy.

Like many other women of the 1950s, Fran quit work when she married. Pierre became a stockbroker, and she combined homemaking with volunteering. At Tucson Community School, where Kathy and Vicky attended preschool, the director, Mary Frobisher, communicated her love of teaching to Fran, motivating her to enter graduate school. After the Janssen daughters were in elementary school, Fran earned a master\'s degree in English and certification for secondary school teaching from the University of Arizona (1969). Although she was not expecting to teach journalism, she was hired at Cholla High School because of her real-life newspaper experience.

Fran taught English and journalism from 1969 to 1976 at Cholla. She was overly dedicated to the high school paper and its staff, often driving students home after long hours after school to get the paper out. Cholla was then an open, experimental school, devoted to the ideals of student input and unique lesson plans. By the end of her Cholla career, Fran was dreaming about the advantages of textbooks and classroom doors that closed. She then found herself in the 'sandwich generation' situation, with parents who needed her attention, while she had two teenagers at home. They, and Pierre, were immensely helpful at this time.

After a leave of absence, Fran decided not to return to teaching, but to try graphics production. After courses at Pima Community College in printing technology, advertising art and drawing, she was hired by a Tucson printing company to do copy preparation and camera work. Fran was then recruited by an advertising agency to manage production. From that job she went into advertising design and sales for Tempo Newsmagazine, an eastside feature paper, and Arizona Waterways, an outdoors monthly with a statewide circulation.

Pierre and Fran tried their luck at raising eldarica pine trees on a Cochise County farm in Elfrida, and then returned to 'real-world' employment in Tucson. Knowledge of farm irrigation was a key factor when the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the U of A hired Fran as a typist. Sixteen years later, she retired as administrative associate. In this position she managed department matters for three department heads.

In 1985 Fran joined University of Arizona Business & Professional Women (BPW), attracted by its people and programs. She became president for two years (1988-1990), helping revitalize the organization. Her theme was BPW issues education. She was BPW/AZ (state board) corresponding secretary (1990) and BPW/AZ public relations chair (1996). Beginning in 1998, Fran worked with Brian Fibiger, creator of the BPW/AZ Internet website, learning how to compose and manage the pages as website coordinator.

Fran volunteered to raise funds for Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona. As a member of the state board for Common Cause, she was part of the Southern Arizona Equal Rights Coalition, and BPW representative on the Southern Arizona Reproductive Health Coalition and Balanced Appointments Coalition.

Fran was appointed to the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appointments for the nomination of Superior Court judges (1995-1999). She developed more computer skills as webmaster for her Wellesley class website and BPW/AZ. After becoming a trustee of the Arizona Business & Professional Women's Foundation, she successfully took on the job of editing the 400-page Women Who Made a Difference Vol III, including prepress preparation.

Her business (sole proprietor) is FRAN JAN FREELANCE, writing, editing, business publications, advertising & public relations, poetry and painting. She also tutors in English and social studies; her friend, Ira Nadborne, helps out with science and math.