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Frances Hasty Loved a Good Story


She carried herself well,” Paula Smith says about her friend with a passion for gardening, the fragrance of gardenia and lilies, music, state history, literature and the written word.

There was just something about Frances Hasty.

And Paula Smith would say it so well about her friend.

“She was the epitome of a Southern lady,” Smith says. “And she carried herself well. She was the most kind and gentle woman.”

Frances Hasty was versed on this city, and its people.

“She contributed to everything we did,” Smith will tell you about The Study Club, circa 1913, with members who would meet monthly to discuss just about any topic of interest to the 20-member club. “And she could talk about things in the past.”

No revelation there.

Frances Hasty was a journalist, 40 years with The Fayetteville Observer, first as a features reporter and finally as editor of the “Features” and “Living” departments, where you could read about homes, recipes, club news, debutantes and, of course, brides to be, replete with their wedding gowns and veils.

She loved a good story to tell, and a headline that would catch any reader’s eye.

She was a no-nonsense journalist when there was a deadline to meet – first with the interview and then with her words to craft just right under her byline that this community would come to know and respect, and so would the N.C. Press Women of which Frances Hasty once served as its president.

One of her last stories, “A Sense of Place,” was published in CityView Magazine about the home of Tom and Anne Keith along Winterlochen Road with its modern amenities and accenting its 18th century charm.

Her interests were far-reaching.

Frances Hasty had a passion for gardening and loved the fragrance of gardenia and lilies; a love of music, the keys of a piano; state history and literature, and, of course, the written word. And always at the core of Frances Hasty was her faith and family and friends.“I knew her growing up,” says Mary Flagg Haugh says “She was a friend of my mother. She was just always so sweet, with such a wonderful smile. I always loved to see her beautiful smile.”

Frances Hasty was president of The Study Club.

“She could call our group to attention with her soft voice,” Haugh says.

Paula Smith will tell you as much.

“She was well organized, with interests in many subjects,” Smith says. “She was a gentle soul and always interested in your family. I’m going to really miss her.”
As will all in the club.
“She was a treasured member of our study club,” Haugh says.
Frances McKay Mintz Hasty died Aug. 20.
She was 83.
Survivors are her children Elizabeth Shaw “Betsy” Gustafson and her husband, Jack, and their sons, Anders, Scotty and Alex, of Charlotte; Margaret Elliott and husband Dr. Jeff Elliott, of Chesapeake, Va.; and Robert “Rob” Alford Hasty Jr. and wife, Yiotta, and their daughter, Lia, of Fayetteville; and a brother, Joseph Mintz. Frances Hasty was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Alford Hasty.

A final word, if you will, on Frances Hasty.
Another deadline was approaching on that day in 1972, when the newspaper offices were located on the second floor in the red, brick building along Hay Street, just across from the train station. The late Pat Reese was telling one of his off-color tidbits, and the late Melissa “Millie” Clement was blushing for a naive 22-year-old kid who never heard such stories before.

Frances Hasty had no time this day for the tomfoolery of the newspaper curmudgeon of local newspaper legend. Deadline was near, with no time to spare.

She blew the silver hair out of her eyes on her way down the stairwell to the composing room.
Frances Hasty was a journalist and a woman with a purpose, and with a style all her own.

“She carried herself well,” Paula Smith says, and that was Frances Hasty’s way throughout her life.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@CityView.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961