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HURST Linda Finley is sharing memories about her beloved mother with a representative from Meals on Wheels. They're looking at pictures of 78-year-old Francis Kees, reminiscing about the good times.

The Fort Worth organization delivered meals to Kees for seven years, and her daughter said her mother loved them.

A relationship formed with the volunteer who always knocked on her door would prove to be a crucial bond at a critical moment.

Meals on Wheels prides itself in dropping off a hot, nutritional meal, as well as checking on the welfare of the elderly.

Her particular volunteer was used to her answering the door, and when she didn't, they knew right away something was wrong, said Fort Worth Meals on Wheels spokeswoman Denise Harris. So, out of concern, she tried to open the door, but when that didn't work, the volunteer alerted our office and we took proactive steps.

Meals on Wheels called daughter Linda Finley in the nick of time.

They had maintenance break the window, and I have to tell you I prepared myself to find her gone, Finley said. But she was sitting on the side of bed with glasses on in the dark.

The 78-year-old woman had suffered a stroke and had a brain bleed the size of a fist. Doctors transferred her from the emergency room to hospice care.

I was just so thankful they called. That last hug... Finley said through tears. You know, Christmas time is the time my mom really loved ... and I think it would have been more difficult for us had we not had that last week together with her.

Meals on Wheels' policy to call out of concern turned out to be a life-saving moment, even though Francis Kees passed away five days later.

I'll miss her smile, her laugh, Finley said. I'll miss her joy of the holidays.

Kees' daughter called Meals on Wheels the angel that at least gave her family the gift of saying goodbye to Grandma.

Francis Kees died on December 10 as a strong, independent woman who continued to live in her own home thanks, in part, to her friends delivering hot meals and checking on her every day.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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