A patron of the arts and Akron community, Francia Adelaide Albrecht died after a short illness on March 15, 2014. She was the mother of Steve Albrecht, president of Acme Fresh Markets. There are two Acme stores in Cuyahoga Falls.
Mrs. Albrecht was born in Akron to Clarence and Aubrey Watters Holliday. She grew up in a "lyrical household" with a mother who taught Russian dance to Akron children for 40 years. She first stepped onstage at 16 months in one of her mother's shows at the Akron Armory. As a young girl, she accompanied her mother and older sister, Betty Holliday King (deceased), to New York City to study ballet. These formative experiences developed her passion for dance, music, and theater, which lasted a lifetime.
She married her husband of 66 years, Frederick Ivan Albrecht, in 1941, while he was serving in the United States Army. They raised a family of six children while Fred ran the F.W. Albrecht Grocery Co. (Acme Fresh Markets). Mr. Albrecht referred to his wife as "Encyc" for her encyclopedic knowledge of people and places. Over the years, Mrs. Albrecht filled her home with art and furniture acquired during their world travels. During their later years, the couple enjoyed entertaining friends at their winter home at John's Island, Fla.
Mrs. Albrecht was a founding member of The Women's Board of Ohio Ballet, served on the board of trustees from 1983 to 1987, and received the BRAVO award in 1988. She also served on the board of trustees for Weathervane Community Playhouse and the Akron Art Museum. She was a long-time member of the St. Cecilia Choral Society and was a past president of United Way Women for which she received the coveted Ray Jeter Award. As a devoted friend and patron to the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, she provided scholarships for aspiring young dancers. In 1982 she received the University of Akron Honorary Alumna Award for outstanding achievement and dedicated service. She was very proud to have established a lasting legacy through the Francia Holliday Albrecht Dance Performance Studio at the University of Akron. Her devotion to the arts and the Akron community culminated in receiving, together with her husband Fred, the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award in 1988. In 2007 she was honored with the Akron Area Arts Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred I. Albrecht, and her daughter, Heather. She is survived by her five children: Ivan, Gwyneth (Sam) Stites, Steve (Sophie), Tatiana (Richard) Harris, and Monica (Douglas) Kridler; 15 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was conducted March 20 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, with the Rev. Amjad Samuel officiating. Private entombment was at Rose Hill Burial Park. Arrangements were handled by the Billow Fairlawn Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to: Weathervane Community Playhouse, the University of Akron School of Dance and the F.W. Albrecht Family Foundation, P.O. Box 1910, Akron, OH 44305.