Treasure Coast Essay
10:40 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Frances Langford: Martin County benefactor

“I’m in the mood for love.”  I will always associate that song with Frances Langford – singer, actress and probably Martin County’s most generous benefactor ever.  She was born in Lakeland, Florida, on April 4th, 1913 – 100 years ago.   In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the five-foot 1-inch contralto was a star on radio, in the movies and with Bob Hope’s USO tours.  She moved to Martin County in 1945.  Over the years, she and three husbands – actor Jon Hall, outboard motor executive Ralph Evinrude and attorney Harold Stuart – gave to scores of local organizations, from the Florida Oceanographic Institute to the Martin County High School Band.  Her name is on Langford Park, the Frances Langford Heart Center, the Frances Langford Theatre, the Frances Langford Pavilion and the Frances Langford Humanitarian Award.  She died in her Jensen Beach home in 2005.  But contributions continue through the Frances Langford Foundation.   Her memory lives on in a room dedicated to her at the Dolphin Bar & Shrimp House in Jensen Beach -- once the Outrigger Resort she owned with Ralph Evinrude -- and at the Outrigger Café in the new Elliott Museum.  Here’s to you, Frances.  And thank you!  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.