by marlys good
Francie Weekes is retiring from her job as speech and language patholigist in the Greybull school district, but she won’t be moving far from her roots.
Francie, the daughter of John and Madeline Oleson of Emblem, was born in St. Luke’s Hospital right here in Greybull, raised on the family farm at Emblem, received her education in Greybull and graduated from Greybull High School in 1970. “It took two school buses to get all the kids into Greybull,” Francie recalls.
One year spent at Northwest College in Powell was followed by three years in BYU where she graduated in 1974 with a double major in speech pathology and elementary education. She returned “home” and signed her first teaching contract — to teach at the one-room school at Emblem.
She asked for a release from her contract to serve an 18-month mission in Venezuela for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Se returned to work as a speech pathologist in Thermopolis; married Ken Weekes and moved to Ten Sleep where she taught GED night classes.
This was followed by a move to Worland where she and Ken established Ken’s Ag Center. In addition to helping establish the business, Francie worked for Absaroka Headstart and the Children’s Resource Center as a speech pathologist.
In 1993 Ken and Francie, daughter Jill and son Matt, purchased her parent’s farms, moved Ken’s Ag Center to Greybull and put down more roots.
In 1994 she returned to the Greybull school district as a full-time speech pathologist. “In a family meeting we asked our children if they wanted a working Mom. They thought it would be wonderful. They wouldn’t have to ride the bus to school,” she laughed. It was a double blessing because Francie “loved working in the same place they were.”
As the SLP, Francie worked with students in kindergarten through the age of 21 in four areas of communication: articulation, language, voice and stuttering. The students were a joy. “I love to teach students and watch the progress they made from initial evaluation until they exit the program,” she said. “I learned that early intervention is an important key to success. It is very satisfying to work with students who could not speak intelligibly and then seeing them exit the program.”
Francie said she has been privileged to work with wonderful students and staff, and the two paraprofessionals who have worked with her during the past 20 years – Darlene Cheatham and Deb Crist. “They were vital to the success of my program.”
Francie said the 2013-14 year “was one of my best years ever. However, I have things to do. I want to accomplish tasks I have postponed for some time.” She is looking forward to have time to spend on researching family history, “Temple attendance, working with my husband, and spending time in Utah with my brother, John Oleson and sister Cheryl Stott.”
Francie and Ken are also looking forward to spending more time in Buffalo, visiting their son-in-law and daughter, Jake and Jill Wright, and grandchildren Grace, Ava, Torrun and Levi.
‘“We have built a cottage across the mountain and will be there often,” Francie said, “to just enjoy watching them grow up and participate in a multitude of activities.”