Biography: Frances Elizabeth Brown Cruz was born on April 3, 1938 in Cairo, GA to the late Thadeus H. Brown and Eloise (Wooten) Brown. Her and her twin brother Floyd Brown (who preceded her in death) were born in their cousin Jackie Robinson’s grandmother’s home who served as the midwife and assisted in their delivery. At the age of 2, Frances, her parents and siblings relocated to New York City and settled in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, Manhattan. They later moved to the Bronx River Projects where she enjoyed her adolescent years. She was a member of the Majestic Queens and attended Jane Addams Vocational High School for nursing.
It was in the Bronx that she met the love of her life Gilbert Fredrick Cruz, Sr. and they married in 1958. Together they have four children Gilbert Jr, Robert Sr., Gilda and Francisco Sr. She was raised as a Baptist and converted to Catholicism to support the faith of her husband when they married. Frances was a very strong and faithful spiritual woman that guided her children’s faith in the Lord as well. Her children attended St. Augustine’s School, and she was a member of St. Augustine’s church for over 50 years where they all served in some capacity. In her elderly years Frances was very supportive to her daughter’s ministry, Not My Word But God’s Word Ministry.
Frances was a hard working woman. She served as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Lenox Hill Hospital for 27 years before retiring due to her deteriorating eyesight as a result of glaucoma. Her greatest pride at work was that she cared for Cardinal Cooke during his stay at Lenox Hill hospital, which she received an outstanding letter of recognition by Cardinal Cooke. As she progressed in life, her vision continued to decline; and she eventually became legally blind, but nevertheless did that stop her from maintaining her independence; whereby she often refused to use a “white support cane.” Frances was the life of any party and loved to turn up her music and dance! She enjoyed getting her hair styled and her fashions designed by her daughter at Tear Drops of Elegance, a beauty salon built by her husband, sons and nephews.
Surrounded by family Frances passed away on Monday December 24, 2018 at the age of 80. She was deeply loved, respected by everyone, and will be missed. She is survived by her mother’s youngest sister Dorothy Wooten, her brothers Howard White, Mark Brown, and Michael Brown, her husband Gilbert F. Cruz Sr, their beloved children Gilbert F. Cruz Jr, Robert A. Cruz Sr., Gilda S. Cruz, and Francisco E. Cruz Sr., their treasured grandchildren Gilberto Troy Cruz, Cierra Cruz, Aviance Cruz, Miesan Cruz, Chynna Johnson, Robert Cruz Jr., Freixenet Cruz, Isiah Thompson, Michael Davis Jr., Francisco Cruz Jr., Endya Davis, and Esquire Cruz, their adorable great-grandchildren Achaia Buckhanon, Cache Cruz, Malik Cruz, Nazir Williams-Cruz, Morgan Kirby, Marcel Cruz, their lovable great great-grandson Carson Jackson and a host of wonderful nieces, nephews, other family and friends.