Frances M. Slowe, 1949-2017

Graphic by Greg Grinnell/Northeastern University

Frances M. Slowe, a cherished member of the Northeastern community for more than 40 years, died on Monday at the age of 68 after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Slowe, DMSB’77, MA’79, received two degrees from Northeastern—a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in English—and worked at the university for more than 30 years as the data manager in the Office of University Advancement. She retired in March.

“Fran loved Northeastern,” said Joe Donnelly, vice president and campaign director in the Office of University Advancement, who described his longtime friend and colleague as “funny, loyal, and caring.”

Donnelly first met Slowe in 1986 at a work-related event in Colorado and had grown to become her close friend over the past 14 years at Northeastern. He praised her commitment to her work, which focused primarily on overseeing all of advancement’s data—from donor information to alumni records.

“She had a super work ethic and cared deeply about the integrity of our data,” he explained. “Her ability to extract any information we might need was unsurpassed—and her logic skills would have impressed Socrates.”

Slowe lived in a duplex in Somerville, Massachusetts. She liked gambling, said Donnelly, and would frequent casinos with her friends and family. But, he said, she would never risk more money than she had initially planned. Perhaps it had something to do with her background in accounting. “‘This is how much money I’m going to spend,’” she would say, according to Donnelly, ‘“and not a dime more.”’

During the holiday season, Slowe would sew felt Christmas ornaments for her friends, family, and colleagues. “It was something she was looking forward to doing even more in retirement,” Donnelly explained.

Carol Rowan, data processor for advancement information systems, worked with Slowe for more than 30 years. Like many of her colleagues, she keeps one of Slowe’s ornaments—a smiling emoji—on her desk. “We had a good relationship,” said Rowan, who noted that Slowe often complimented her work ethic. “She saw me grow up. She saw me get married. She saw me have kids. She saw my kids grow up.”

Slowe’s survivors include her brother James; her sister Peggy; her niece Meg; and her nephew Dennis. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Keefe Funeral Home in Arlington, Massachusetts.