Amabisca, Frances

Passed: September 12, 2010

Amabisca, Frances

Passed: September 12, 2010


Dr.  Frances Y. Amabisca, 88, of Goodyear, Arizona passed away on September 12, 2010.  A lifelong educator, Dr. “A” as she was fondly called by all, was born in Hayden, Arizona on May 30, 1922.   The oldest of four girls born to Bernardo and Paula Ybarra, Frances’ passion for learning was implemented at a very early age by her parents.  This love would show throughout her life.

Dr. “A” received her BA in education and MA in education from Arizona State University.  She also did graduate work at the Universidad de Mexico, Universidad Central de Venezuela and the University of Michigan.  She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from Arizona State University.

Frances’ career as an educator has taken her from teaching positions in Thatcher and Litchfield Park high schools to Venezuela (Director of Personnel for Shell Oil) and back to the Avondale Elementary School District.  Dr. A retired from the Avondale School District as Superintendent in 1987.  In working with her students, Dr. ‘A’s goal has always been to encourage and help them prepare to become productive citizens.  Dr. Amabisca would say of education, “teaching is the most powerful force influencing the future.   The greatest honor any society can bestow upon an individual is to ….. entrust the minds and hearts of our children to you, placing the future of our world in your hands.”

Frances also served her community by accepting appointments to various educational committees including the National Migrant Education Task Force, the Education Commission of States plus ten years on the State Committee for Mentally Retarded Children.  Dr. A also was a member of various service groups such as Soroptomist of Estrella and the Avondale Women’s Club plus membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, the Arizona Administrators Association and the International Society of Women Educators.

Recognitions include “The Migrant Educator” from the Arizona Department of Education, 1976, “Woman of the Year” from the Valley Business and Professional Women, 1981 and the Governor’s Award “Women Who Educate” from the Arizona Women’s Partnership, 1985.

In her last years, Frances continued to educate and serve in helping out with her church parish, St. John Vianney, the Avondale Library and various school associations.   She lived her life as a true role model for all who came in contact with her just as Christ intended for her.

A special award for Frances came earlier this year from the Congregation of Holy Cross.  The community of Holy Cross recognized Frances with their “Spirit of Holy Cross” award for her educational service to the priests at St. John Vianney Parish.  Frances was honored and humbled to receive this award.  Speaking of the priests who have been at St. John Vianney, Frances said, “They all tell me they have learned from me, but the truth of the matter is, I have learned from them”.

Dr. “A” is survived by her sisters, Elidia Herrera (Joe) and Carmen Portillo, eight nieces and nephews, twelve grand nieces and nephews and one great niece.  She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Mary Y. Garcia and husband Earnest Amabisca.

Visitation will be held at on Friday, September 24, 2010 at St. John Vianney from 6:00 pm through 8:30 pm with a Rosary at 7:00 pm.  The funeral mass will also be held at St. John Vianney located at 539 La Posada Blvd. in Goodyear, Arizona at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 25th.  Internment will be at Holy Cross Cemetary with a reception to follow.

Donations in Dr. Amabisca’s name may be made to St. John Vianney for education, vocations and service at


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