Frances Anne Lyons

Frances Anne (Buntin) Lyons 10/12/47 – 08/30/22 

Frannie Lyons never put a raisin where a chocolate chip is supposed to be, and since she couldn’t do things in moderation, she’d throw in an extra dozen (or two) just for good measure.  

Born Frances Anne Buntin on October 12, 1947 in North Little Rock, AR, she was the youngest child and only daughter of Russell and Eileen Buntin. However, she rejected gender stereotypes at a very young age, shunning the Shirley Temple curls and frilly dresses Eileen wanted, opting to do anything her brothers, Rusty and Joe, did, and usually better. Russell took great pride that she was the best shot of his children when they would hunt.  

As a young child, the family moved to Memphis, TN where Frannie attended Blessed Sacrament school and Immaculate Conception High School and briefly Memphis State University. Serving as Tennessee’s Catholic Young Adults Vice President, she met her future husband, Robert Lyons. Their marriage was an adventure that included three daughters, an animal menagerie and led them to Greenbelt, MD, Alexandria, VA, Dallas, TX, Austin, TX, Denver, CO, and Greensboro, NC before they finally settled in North Andover, MA where they lived for nearly 30 years before retiring to The Pinehills in Plymouth, MA.  

Frannie was the dog whisperer of the neighborhood, always good for a pitcher of Kool-Aid on a hot, summer day and the master of all things crafty. Equally comfortable in front of a stove, sewing machine or table saw, she gave generously of her time and talents. Family and friends will cherish the many treasures she put her love into including: Raggedy Ann dolls with dresses for every holiday; personalized, hand-carved foam pumpkins; all kinds of tie-dyed items; knitted hats and scarves (hundreds of which she donated to NICUs and the homeless), cross-stitch samplers and her delicious Grannie Frannie’s jams and jellies. She was always trying new recipes, adding her own personal touch and never afraid to serve them to company, because they always came out delicious.  

Before Google, there was Frannie. She knew a lot about a lot and people often sought out her wisdom and advice that she readily gave in a loving, supportive way. Often, she would show up with whatever you needed to fix your problem, because she had it and knew how to use it.   

Her greatest passion was animals, and she worked for many years at Bulger Animal Hospital in North Andover. If a family had to euthanize a pet and couldn’t handle being in the room, Frannie always volunteered to be there in place of the family so their pet wouldn’t be alone crossing the Rainbow Bridge. Being Southern, she would talk to people at the grocery store which sometimes made Northerners nervous and often embarrassed her children. When they would walk away and one of the kids would ask, “who was that?” she would answer, “Muffin’s mom.” She couldn’t remember the person’s name but never forgot the animal’s name. Her happy place was Camp Gone to the Dogs because it combined her first love, dogs, with crafts and ‘her’ people. Many laughs and escapades, usually initiated by her, were shared during camp. 

Frannie faced many health challenges during her life but never complained. She was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, one leading to a liver transplant in 2005 with the liver being donated as a live donation by her daughter, Erin. She was diagnosed and beat breast cancer in 2011 by having a double mastectomy only to have the cancer return and metastasize in 2021.  

She is survived by her beloved dogs, Winslowe and Journey, her husband of 53 years, Robert Lyons, her three daughters, Darby (Marc) Cardillo of Marshfield, MA, Erin “Fern” (Michael) Favalora of Bradford, MA and McKenzie (Brian) Hurley of Middletown, NJ, her nine grandchildren Hayley and William Cardillo, Reece, Quinn and Maysen Favalora and Peyton, Luke, Garrett and Charlotte Hurley, her best friend of 35 years Karen (Carl) Fischer of North Andover, her brother Joseph Buntin and several nieces and nephews. 

Not one to like attention or fanfare, she requested a small, private service. If you would like to celebrate her life, please donate to: Pawfect Life Rescue 195 Old Millville Road, Uxbridge, MA 01569  or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105


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43 Condolences

  1. Bob Lyons on September 1, 2022 at 7:56 am

    The love of my life is gone. RIP with your dogs wonderful person. Thank you for 53 not always easy but great years.

  2. Jeanne Smith Richter on September 1, 2022 at 8:21 am

    My deepest sympathy. Frannie was one in a million. I have man happy memories of her at Camp Gone to the Dogs.

  3. The McDonoughs on September 1, 2022 at 8:30 am

    Such a wonderful tribute to Gammie…
    A woman of many wonderful gifts and talents. Sending love and prayers to your whole family.

  4. Nancy Kieffer on September 1, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Frannie was one of my very favorite people at Camp Gone to the Dogs. She was sunshine and smiles and laughter. She will be missed! Sending hugs and prayers to her family and friends…

  5. The Hawkes Family on September 1, 2022 at 8:40 am

    What a beautiful passage. Our thoughts are with your family during this most difficult time.

  6. Joanie Durante on September 1, 2022 at 8:42 am

    Bob she was a beautiful lady inside and out … may she Rest In Peace ..

    We had so many laughs when we all moved here !!

  7. Jessica Galarneau on September 1, 2022 at 8:43 am

    Beautiful words! Such fond memories growing up across the street on Berkeley Road with Mrs. Lyons! Your whole family is my thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you all!! ❤️

  8. Trina Bianchi on September 1, 2022 at 8:48 am

    My sincere condolences to Frannie’s husband and entire family. This beautiful tribute totally captures the Frannie we all knew and loved from Camp! An extremely talented individual, Frannie was always smiling, bringing laughter, joy and peace to Camp. Cherish all the wonderful memories…..

  9. Steve and Geri Cardillo on September 1, 2022 at 9:00 am

    We have wonderful memories of the past 25 years enjoying Frannies love, friendship and of
    course her culinary delights. You will be so missed but always remembered.

  10. The Parry Family on September 1, 2022 at 9:19 am

    This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. Thinking of all her loved ones lucky enough to know and miss her.

  11. Debra Castaldi on September 1, 2022 at 9:20 am

    I worked with Frannie at Bulgers and yes she was always sweet and loving to all the animals and her co-workers. She was thrown some terrible challenges and always wore a smile. I am devastated to hear of her passing. My love to Bob and the girls.

  12. Bonnie R Peregoy on September 1, 2022 at 9:30 am

    How can there be an obituary for Frannie with no mention of bacon? She was the queen of group hospitality, especially for breakfast and one year fed the entire Camp Gone to the Dogs Staff on Sunday morning before the dining room service became available the next day. Last September she brought breakfast, including a pound (+?) of bacon for our “girls retreat on Lake Harmony” – plenty of bacon for only FOUR of us. Frannie was so sweet and generous. The obituary reminded me that she had sent my grandchildren personalized pumpkins although she had never met them or their parents! She was always the bravest with her health challenges and so strong through out – I really never heard her complain and I was sure she was invincible. She loved her children and grandchildren so much, they were in every conversation I had with her. I will miss her – we love you Frannie.

  13. Pam Rowley on September 1, 2022 at 9:50 am

    My condolences to all Frannies family and friends. She was always a shining light at camp and was so easy to meet and share our beloved animals with. RIP Frannie

  14. Cathy Guglielmo on September 1, 2022 at 9:58 am

    There’s a special place in Heaven for people like Frannie. My deepest sympathy goes to those who were close to her both human and canine.

  15. Terry Day on September 1, 2022 at 10:13 am

    So sorry to hear of the loss of a great lady. I worked with Frannie at Bulger Animal Hospital off 8 years And enjoyed her friendship. She was one of a kind. May God bless you, Frannie.

  16. Denise Alexander on September 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Robert, I am so very sorry to hear about Frannie. You, the girls and family are all in my prayers 💔🙏🙏🙏

  17. The Fieldings on September 1, 2022 at 10:44 am

    What a beautiful tribute. Take care of yourselves during this difficult time. May your memories and love carry you through the time ahead. We are so sorry for your loss.

  18. Sandy Kupps Williams on September 1, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    My deepest sympathies Bob, Darcy, Erin and McKenzie. Frannie was a great human Mom supporting her children in whatever their interest, and an amazing dog Mom, not only to her own dogs, (Zooey was my favorite); but to everyone’s dogs who were lucky enough to receive her care in North Andover. I so remember her convincing me to take one of the beautiful Goldens she was fostering for my daughter’s birthday. Chelsea was a gift to us us. My daughter still loves Goldens and has a special girl now thanks to your encouragement. God be with you Frannie, Rest In Peace.

  19. Holly Deeds on September 1, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    I am sitting in my classroom with tears running down my face at this terrible news. Frannie was a wonder; I was lucky enough to get to know her at Camp Gone to the Dogs and to retain the connection through Facebook. She was always kind and encouraging to me and my dogs, but with a razor-sharp wit that cut through nonsense. I will treasure so many memories of her…tie-dying shirts, protecting Jasper at Really Reliable Recall when another dog went after him, with Lark in TDI class, just so many special times I got to share. To Frannie’s family: thank you for sharing her with us all those summers, and my heart is with you as you deal with her loss. Frannie, I know there were a lot of dogs waiting up there for you, including couple of mine; keep them company until we are all together again.

  20. peter c toland on September 1, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss, Bob. I only met Frannie once, but I have known you for some forty years as a former colleague and good friend over these many years, and I know from your stories what a wonderful woman she was, and how much you shared – especially your children and grandchildren – and oh yes, your dogs! I will keep her, and you, in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless her.

  21. Nancy Roberge on September 1, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Bob and “The Girls”:
    Frannie was a most amazing dog whisperer, friend and neighbor who will be sorely missed. When our dog Lola had abdominal surgery to have part of her liver and her gall bladder removed and I just couldn’t get the knack for giving her the postop medication, Frannie, even when very sick and in pain would drive down the street to teach me and to give Lola her pills. Lola would always outsmart me and spit the pills out some time later but she couldn’t outsmart Frannie!! When Sophie my “wild child puppy” needed a stern disciplinarian teaching her what’s right and what’s not, it was Frannie in her basement helping me to see what I needed to learn. She taught humans how to be better puppy owners, she trained the humans and then the pups how to forgive us for being so slow. Thank you Frannie for all the help with my two pups. I will miss our friendship tremendously. St. Francis of Assisi has already welcomed you home for your years of kindness to animals and dog kisses are yours forever. God bless Bob and family. Sending much love to all,
    Nancy Roberge

  22. Todd Fronk on September 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm


    Just heard from Pete about your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

  23. Bob and Patsy Dietrich on September 1, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    HE ONLY TAKES THE BEST (An Unkown Poet)

    God saw she was getting tired
    and a cure was not to be.
    So he put his arms around her
    and whispered, “Come with me.”
    With tear-filled eyes we watched her
    suffer and fade away.
    Although we loved her deeply,
    we could not make her stay.
    A golden heart stopped beating,
    hard-working hands put to rest.
    God breaks our hearts to prove to us
    he only takes the best.

  24. Mike and Ann Hall on September 1, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    We go back to the high school years and then met again when our fate was to marry the two wild Ohio boys.
    You were always the one to turn to with dog questions. You should have been a vet, you knew more than most of them.
    No one could match you in the kitchen, always a delicious meal at your house.
    You opened your home to us when we moved to NE. I will always be in debt to you for that.
    You and Bob raised three phenomenal women in Darby, Erin, and McKenzie. They each carry with them your strong determination and drive.
    Rest In Peace my friend. You have left us but we will never forget you.

  25. Frankie Joiris on September 1, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    No. Just no. Not Frannie.
    We shared dogs and thoughts and laughs and the barest parts of our souls sometimes.
    I can’t bear the thought of it.

  26. Jennifer Brosnan on September 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    So sad. One of the sweetest and most generous people I have ever known. My life and the lives of my dogs are better for having known her.

  27. Jim & Catherine Alexander on September 1, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    My deepest sympathy & prayers to you and your family! I hope you find comfort with family & friends. In this time of sorrow may your memories bring you peace. Jim & Catherine Alexander

  28. Dick McCleary on September 1, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Bob, so very sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing individual.

  29. Ginny on September 2, 2022 at 9:30 am

    So sorry Bob. Frannie was such a wonderful person. Just so glad I got to see her the end of July. May she Rest In Peace and may you and your family find comfort in each other that she is at peace now.

  30. Carol Markey on September 2, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Frannie was truly the most kind, caring and nurturing person I have ever known. She loved everyone especially four legged ones. We worked together and have remained friends over the years. She was also a strong person who never gave up and who fought so hard to overcome the obstacles she faced throughout her life. The world would be a better place if there were more people like Frannie.

  31. Carol Markey on September 2, 2022 at 4:39 pm

    Frannie was a kind, caring and nurturing person. She was always present to lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. Frannie never gave up and did her best to overcome the obstacles that she encountered. Can you imagine what a great world we would live in if it was full of Frannies. My condolences go out to her family and many friends.

  32. Leslie Borg on September 3, 2022 at 5:30 am

    My heart bleeds for the family of this extra special person. Even thou I only meet her in 2016, at the Aiken Rescue, I knew then that this was a person like no other. All she talked about were her girls and their families. I know you are in a better place and you are out of pain. My condolences to your family. You will be sorely missed. R.I.P. dear Frannie

  33. Bob and Jean Wenzel on September 3, 2022 at 7:34 am

    Bob and family,
    Our deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved wife and mother, Frannie.

  34. Eileen and Jerry Hurley and family on September 3, 2022 at 8:42 am

    Bob, Darby, Fern and McKenzie – We are so sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful tribute to a very special woman. We feel so blessed to have known Frannie. We benefited from her talents in the kitchen, her crafting skills, and her knowledge about dogs. She was no doubt greeted in heaven by an army of four-legged friends! We mourn with you this remarkable woman who generously shared her gifts with so many, and we will treasure her memory.

  35. David Maroon on September 3, 2022 at 8:48 am

    When Frankie would come in to get her hair cut she would always bring a different treat, until she found out that I liked chocolate, then it would always be something with chocolate !
    She was so kind , generous and thoughtful ! One of the nicest people I have ever met.
    My condolences to the whole family
    David Maroon

  36. Susan Smoter on September 3, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    I never got to meet Frannie, but I know and love Bob. So, how could she not be wonderful! My sincere condolenses to the Lyons family and to Frannie’s many friends. These tributes are really great to get to know Frannie!

  37. Fred Gilbert on September 3, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Bob, So sorry for your loss. Hopefully, your happy memories will sustain you during these difficult days.

  38. Betty Scarnato on September 4, 2022 at 7:04 am

    A beautiful life has left this world but her essence can never be lost. She was so special, glad to help others giving of her time and talents. I met Frannie at Camp Gone to the Dogs where she offered her knowledge to many. She helped me tie dye a onesie for my grandson and gave me a blanket she had crocheted because she had a wonderful giving spirit. She had a great sense of humor and I am sure she is sharing it in heaven.

  39. Nan Marks on September 5, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    Boy suddenly the world feels empty Frankie’s wonderful infectious loving and generous spirit was a true force and great gift to the many of us who were blessed to know her, laugh with her and learn from her. Yup another dog friend here who will miss Frankie greatly.

  40. Mike Kelly on September 5, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    Dear Bob,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss of beautiful Frannie. We are remembering when Frannie and you had us for dinner in Texas with Charlie and Corrie Parks. Frannie was the always the gracious hostess. Please take care of yourself and your three daughters.
    With sympathy,
    Mike & Joanne Kelly

  41. Bob Lyons on September 6, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Thank You to so many who left great memories of a one of kind caring giving person. I and my family thank you for your kindness at this hard and difficult time. As I write this years are rolling down my cheeks. That says it all about our loss.

  42. Bob and Fran Tango on September 6, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Bob and Family,

    Please accept our condolences , our neighborhood has lost a wonderful special women. She was our favorite “doggie” lady. She will be missed.

  43. Julie Uthoff on September 7, 2022 at 10:46 am

    The Pawfect Life family would like to express our deepest condolences over the passing of sweet Frannie ♥️ May she be reunited with all the furry friends she loved & helped over the rainbow bridge 🌈 Please know we are naming a little pup we rescued locally after her. Gone but never forgotten – much love to you in heaven Frannie ♥️

    With Love,

    Julie & your forever family @ Pawfect Life Rescue

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