MR magazine and the menswear industry are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Frances Carey Beecroft on May 17 at the age of 81. She was a dynamic and well-respected businesswoman who, with her husband Moss, founded Beecroft & Bull Ltd. in Newport News, Virginia in 1958.
Frances was born in Miami, Florida and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Art History. Although she’d been dating actor Burt Reynolds, she wisely chose to marry her college sweetheart, a handsome young Virginian entrepreneur named Moss Beecroft, and they moved north to his hometown of Newport News to open a store. According to all, Frances was instrumental in the company’s success and helped forge its reputation as one of the best men’s stores in the country.
Notes her son Craig: “Dad was the front man, but Frances made it all happen behind the scenes. She had that survival instinct: one didn’t mess with ‘Frambo’ when it came to the stores! For her prowess on the financial side, she also earned the nickname ‘The Eraser.’ Her style, quick wit, self-assurance, and business expertise gained her respect and admiration from her peers and made her a legend in the clothing industry.” A fierce competitor on the tennis court, Frances was also passionate about gardening and had recently joined a choir in Boynton Beach, Florida. But above all, Frances loved her family. “MR magazine once named us the industry’s most dysfunctional family and believe it or not, we were proud of this recognition!” says Craig. “We’re all very headstrong and there were a lot of fireworks over the years. But Frances kept it together.”
Karen Alberg, editor in chief of MR magazine, always admired Frances’ energy and her ability to connect. “I didn’t know Frances well but we’d see each other at market events, often at Robert Talbott parties, and she had this amazing way of connecting with people. It was never superficial—she really wanted to know how you were and what you were all about. And she had the most wonderful laugh.” Adds upscale rep Jim McKenry: “Frances was a big part of Beecroft and Bull. She will be missed by all of us in the industry who knew her.”
Frances is survived by her husband of 59 years, Morris “Moss” Bryan Beecroft, Jr., sons Morris Bryan Beecroft III and Robert Craig Beecroft and his wife Noel Beecroft, grandsons William Schuyler Beecroft and Maxwell Carey Beecroft, her brother Jeff Carey, sisters Ivy Kool and Linda Carey and many nieces, nephews and extended family members. Says Craig: “All of us, including her closest friends, would agree that she was lover of life, beautiful to the core, and immensely loyal. She is already dearly missed.”
A celebration of Frances’ life will be held at the Hidenwood Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, May 25th at 2:00 p.m. Instead of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the Hidenwood Presbyterian Charity Fund.