Cleyson and Frances Plank

Innocent Bet Leads to 57 Years of Love and Happiness

by Jess Hoffert, District Communications Intern

Cleyson Plank was a popular young man over half a century ago. After all, how many guys can honestly say they were fought over?  Frances and Jeanette were close friends during that time, and both wanted to go to a movie with Cleyson, but only one could win the bet as to who would be asked first. Frances ended up winning the bet, and that one date sparked an enduring bond that has lasted for 57 years.

“I didn’t even end up asking Jeanette,” Cleyson said.

The Planks, who have lived in the Lewiston area most of their lives, are regular attendees of the Lewiston Church of the Brethren. After two years of dating, the couple was one of the first to get married in the “new” building which is the same structure that stands today.

“We married on one condition: that our kids would be brought up in a church,” Frances said. “I feel like I missed out on all the great Bible stories when I was younger.”

Both Planks agree that the two most important things in their lives are their church and their family. To date, the Planks have nine great grandchildren, all of them born within the last nine years.

“I carry pictures around so I can keep track of all of them,” Frances said. “Our biggest wish for them is that they are happy and stay in good health.”

Frances never takes a good day for granted, especially since she’s had three close calls with death, including complications she faced while giving birth to her son, Dean.

“When Dean was about to be born, the doctor told me that either the good Lord would take my wife or I was going to have to talk her through the situation,” Cleyson said. While Frances couldn’t hear her husbands words or feel the grasp of his hand, Cleyson noticed that her pulse would rise the second he stopped speaking and it would ease when his voice was present. After almost three hours of prayer for his wife’s recovery, Cleyson was told that his wife and child would be all right.

“I figured God wasn’t ready for me. I had things to get done,” Frances said. “I began to wonder, ‘Why did God leave me here?’ and then I found an answer when my daughter Renee needed me to comfort her during the loss of her child.”

While Frances and Cleyson can’t promise the good health of themselves or their family, it’s a safe bet to say that their hearts are always in the right place.