Frances W. Massey

Associate Professor
NCSU Textiles Retired

Frances W. Massey 1929 –
Years of service NCSU Textiles 1963­ – 1991


Frances W. Massey was born on March 14, 1929 in rural Sampson County, on a farm near Spivey’s Corner, NC to Jesse O. Wilson and Esther Lee Wilson. Frances was the third of seven children. She attended the local public schools and graduated from Plain View High School in 1947. She entered East Carolina Teachers College now East Carolina University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and Science in 1951. She began teaching high school Home Economics in Bailey, Nash County, North Carolina. She moved to Raleigh to teach Home Economics at Millbrook High School. While at Millbrook, Frances taught a Sewing course on UNC­TV. She decided to take time off to get a Master’s degree at UNC – Greensboro. That study and assistantship led to a job with Blue Bell Apparel Co. in 1962­63 in their headquarters and at the Pattern Department on Church Street in Greensboro.

Her husband, George Massey, was a farm equipment manager for a local wholesale firm that sold equipment to the School of Agriculture at NC State. One day a college equipment buyer was in his office and he learned that there was a position open in the School of Textiles, Frances came by for an interview with Elliot Grover, the department head of Textile Technology. She was hired in spring 1963 and began work that summer. She was the first female faculty member in the School of Textiles. The Quality Audit Program was underway and needed all the testing and analysis help that could be found. Frances was promoted and granted tenure in 1978. (3)

Frances taught T 101 Introduction to Textiles; T 211 labs specializing in microscopy; graduate quality control in summer school; and T 250 Fabric Formation Systems and T250 labs (Weaving, Knitting and Nonwovens). She developed a course devoted to End Uses of Textiles, and taught that course through 1993 after retirement. She worked closely beside Bill Stuckey, in the Textile Testing Laboratory in the basement of Nelson Hall. Every undergraduate student passed the lab as a part of their testing education. Virtually every graduate student in the college also passed through that lab to learn how to properly evaluate test specimens for their research.

Frances talking to Boy Scouts at an Open House 1974

A formal photo in the School of Textiles News 1974

As a result of her interaction with students, Frances was the first female faculty member on any campus to be inducted into Phi Psi, the textile professional fraternity. Later, she was adviser to Phi Psi.

Some summers were spent working for Cone Mills at their weaving plant outside of Hillsborough, NC and at the Granite corduroy finishing plant in Haw River, NC. She also spent many summers supervising and visiting summer intern students when they worked during the summers.

Frances retired from active teaching in July 1991 and continued teaching a spring semester session on the End Uses of Textiles for two years.

Frances at an Association of Retired Faculty Luncheon Feb. 2012 hoisting a “wee dram” in honor of Robbie Burns


American Association of Textile Technologists; NC Home Economics Association; American Home Economics Association; Delta Kappa Gamma Teachers Society; President­1975­ – 1976, North Carolina Council of Women’s Organizations; Pilot Club of Raleigh.



  1. Personal communication, Frances Massey, April 2012.
  2. School of Textiles News, July 1974