Frances Ileen (Surdez) Yates, 86, of Auburn, Nebraska was born on August 25, 1932 on a farm in Nemaha County near Vermillion, Kansas. She was the eldest of seven children born to Richard and Sarah (Cogswill) Surdez. Frances attended schools in Marshall County, Kansas, graduating from Lillis Rural High School in 1950 with honor of Valedictorian. She attended Clark’s Business School in Topeka, Kansas and worked in the bookkeeping department at Lincoln Mercury, Schoonover Motors in Topeka upon job placement.

On September 17, 1951, Frances was united in marriage to William E. Smith in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. To this union two sons V. Bradley and Rodney Kevin were born. In 1955 the family moved from Topeka, Kansas to Merced, California. She was a bookkeeper for an upholstery and drapery business for several years. Frances returned to Kansas having lived in California for 18 years, after their divorce. She was baptized into the Seventh Day Adventist faith in Topeka, Kansas on April 30, 1951 by Pastor R.E. Lunt. While living in California, she was an active member of a church, holding many offices.

Past employments of Frances were Medical Records Secretary in Humboldt, Nebraska before moving to Omaha and was employed at offices of Richman Gordmans, Inc., Pamida, Inc. and ½ Price Stores Inc. until November of 1995. On February 29, 1996, she married Clarence E. Yates in David City, Nebraska. They moved to Johnson, Nebraska in May of 1996. Frances worked part-time temporary at Bunge Elevator office in Stella during fall harvest of 1996 and 1997, thereafter, retiring. The couple moved to Auburn, Nebraska in 2004. Their winters were spent in Yuma, Arizona, returning in April.

Frances passed away on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Auburn, Nebraska having reached the age of 86 years, 3 months, and 13 days. She was preceded in death by her parents, a son, three sisters, an infant brother, and a step-son.

Frances is survived by her loving husband Clarence Yates of Auburn; son Rodney Smith of Modesto, Calif.; step-children: Clarence Yates Jr. and wife Lisa of Omaha, Neb.; Nancy Storant and husband Robert of Lincoln, Neb.; Carol Herron and husband Steve “Cash” of Rock Port, Missouri; Susan Smith and husband Jerry of St. Joseph, Mo.; brothers: Leo Surdez and wife Margaret of rural Humboldt; Daryl Surdez and wife Candi of Sabetha, Kansas; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A private family inurnment will be held at the Vermillion District #7 Cemetery in Vermillion, Kansas at a later date.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the family’s choice with a later designation.

Condolences can be shared online at

Services entrusted to Wherry Mortuary, 207 Nemaha Street, Humboldt, Nebraska 68376 (402) 862-2915

Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273