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Former Oxford College librarian dies days after celebration of new library

Special photo courtesy Oxford College :Fran Elizer had been a part of the library at Oxford College from its beginning, participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the original building in the 1960s and dedicating 23 years of her life to working there. Just three days before her Dec. 17 death at age 95, officials at Oxford College visited her and made it possible for her to be a part of a special groundbreaking for the new addition to the college's library.

Special photo courtesy Oxford College :Fran Elizer had been a part of the library at Oxford College from its beginning, participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the original building in the 1960s and dedicating 23 years of her life to working there. Just three days before her Dec. 17 death at age 95, officials at Oxford College visited her and made it possible for her to be a part of a special groundbreaking for the new addition to the college's library.

OXFORD -- The closing chapter in Fran Elizer's life was fitting for a woman who is remembered for her dedication and generosity.

Elizer had been a part of the library at Oxford College from its beginning. She participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the original building in the 1960s and dedicated 23 years of her life working there.

Just days before her death on Dec. 17 at age 95, officials at Oxford College made it possible for Elizer to be a part of a special groundbreaking for the new addition to the college's library.

"Mrs. Elizer told the development staff that she was trying to live long enough to attend the next library groundbreaking.Amazingly, we were able to pull off a minione (on Dec. 14)," Tammy Camfield, director of alumni relations with Oxford College, wrote in an emailed correspondence.

According to Camfield, members of the Oxford College Development staff, Kitty McNeill, associate dean and college librarian; Hugh Tarbutton Jr.; Chaplain Lyn Pace and Oxford College Dean Stephen Bowen were on hand for the mini-groundbreaking held at Elizer's residence at the Benton House in Covington.

"Kitty brought dirt on an Emory blue platter and we supplied her with a small silver shovel," Camfield stated. "Kitty brought the actual shovel used at the last ground-breaking for all of us to view. Mrs. Elizer told us she 'felt like a million bucks.'"

Elizer and her husband, Marshall, who was a professor of mathematics and business manager at Oxford College, lived in Oxford most of their lives.

Elizer was born in 1916 in Molena, near LaGrange. She was one of five children and forwent pursuing further education in order to care for her ailing mother.

When she and her husband moved to Oxford, Elizer quickly made it her home. She made an impact on students and staff alike during her time working as a library assistant at Oxford College where she processed books and helped in the reference and special collections areas.

"But it was the personal, caring touches that she brought to the job that made her special in the eyes of her fellow staff members and Oxford students," according to Elizer's obituary notice. "She would adorn the library with fresh flowers from her garden. And it was not unheard of for her to mend the ripped-out knees of a student's jeans."

The Elizers were bestowed in 2000 with the R. Carl Chandler Award for a lifetime of service to Oxford College. Also that year, an endowed scholarship was established in Fran Elizer's honor.

Elizer was a member of Allen Memorial United Methodist Church for 65 years, was a charter member of the Amitie Club and was a member of the Oxford Historical Shrine Society.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford, with Rev. Lyn Pace and Rev. Max Vincent officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the library expansion project at Oxford College or to Allen Memorial United Methodist Church.