Mary Frances Hill Eldridge, 83, beloved wife, mother, and community volunteer, passed away peacefully at Duke Hospice at the Meadowlands on May 8, 2010

Affectionately known as Mf and Mary Fran, she was born in Princeton, the daughter of William Roy Hill and Pearl Forbes Hill of Princeton.

She graduated from Princeton High School in 1944 and the Indiana University School of Nursing in 1947.  She was an R.N. and worked in Indiana, Texas, California, and North Carolina.  She worked for UNC for 22 years and retired from the UNC School of Public Health in 1995.

She met her husband, Fred at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.  They were married in 1951.  After two years of Air Force life, the Eldridges returned to San Francisco, where Fred was on the faculty at Stanford University.  The Eldridges enjoyed traveling in the United States and overseas.  They lived in London for a year when Dr. Eldridge was studying at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.  They also lived in Salt Lake City, Utah during a sabbatical year. 

She had been active with a number of organizations since moving to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area in 1973 from Stanford, Calif. with her family when her husband accepted a position on the faculty of the UNC School of Medicine.  She volunteered with Special Olympics at the local and state level. Mf was a six year board member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA. One of her favorite places to volunteer was the Carrboro Branch Library.  In addition, she enjoyed playing tennis, often with her husband.  They won the N.C. state finals in their age group in the senior games on several occasions. Mf served on the board of The Chapel Hill Tennis Club as well as being editor of the newsletter for many years.  Other interests included playing the bass recorder in a local recorder consort, Baillie’s Branslers, participating in two UNC Women’s Club book discussion groups, serving as a member of a Braille transcribing group, knitting, and basket making.

Mf was honored with several recognitions for her community service:  Service to Mankind Award for significant and meritorious service from Sertoma International in 1996; Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2001; and Community Service Award from the Durham-Orange County Medical Society in 2002.

Although her activities were seriously limited following the stroke that she suffered in September 2004, Mf continued to be a weekly volunteer at the Carrboro Branch Library until the time of her death.  The family expresses deep gratitude to staff and friends at the library for all that they did for Mf over the past few years.  In addition, the family expresses gratitude to Golden Eldercare Management and the staff at Nurse Care of N.C. for providing professional support.

Mf is survived by her husband of 59 years, Frederick Louis Eldridge, her “gem” who devotedly and lovingly cared for her since her stroke in 2004;  daughter, Karen Marie Eldridge of Carrboro; son, Charles Frederic Eldridge, his wife, Jane Marlene Howard; and their children, Alyssa Blair Eldridge and Adrian Howard Eldridge of Seattle; her brother, William Allen Hill; sister-in-law, Betty Elshoff Hill of Evansville; their four children and their families.

A celebration of Mf’s life is planned for June.

Arrangements by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas.