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Movers & Shakers: Fran Zamler

Movers & Shakers: Fran Zamler

Fran Zamler is a model citizen in more ways than one. Not only does this local philanthropist serve on a multitude of nonprofit boards and give back to the community via her creative talents, but also she’s a stunning professional fashion model. She’s graced both runways and magazines, helping charities and businesses favorably showcase their products.

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At 5 feet, 8 inches tall, she began her modeling career in high school and continues it now both by modeling and by coordinating fashion shows for charity.

Zamler credits her parents and grandparents as her inspiration. “They all faced challenges but remained strong, resilient, compassionate people who taught me that family comes first,” she says. “My dad impressed upon his children, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.’”

Zamler thirsts for learning and says she can’t sit still. She has many hobbies, including gardening, golf and pickleball. Music and theater are two of her passions, and Zamler names the legendary 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story as one of her favorites. In an effort to combine her vocal talent with her love for caring for others, she has sung for 30 years with the the Junior League of St. Louis’ Junior League Larks, which entertains residents at nursing homes and retirement centers.

Married for 31 years to her husband, Steve, Zamler is the proud mother of three. She calls her children and grandchildren her greatest accomplishments. “I have always encouraged our children to be positive and follow their dreams and passions,” she says. “I feel blessed with our blended family that includes 13 grandchildren.”

Zamler’s manifold achievements include being a current member of the Friends Board of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund; a 50-plus-year volunteer for and former board member of the National Council of Jewish Women, which previously accorded her its volunteer service award for her years of service; a 2011 St. Louis Woman of Achievement; a 2005 local Woman of Worth; and an honoree of St. Louis County’s Parkway School District, which named her its 1976 volunteer of the year for coordinating the bicentennial celebration for her children’s elementary school.

She also has co-chaired The Women’s Event to benefit the St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer, served on the board of Gateway to Hope and supported Variety The Children’s Charity as a Variety Woman.

Making the most of sequestering during the pandemic, she celebrated her 75th birthday on Zoom and has a weekly virtual happy hour with friends. To offer support for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital (where her granddaughter Haley works as a pediatric nurse), she teamed with local seamstresses to sell designer masks to raise funds for it and the St. Louis Press Club, where she serves on the Beauty Buzz Committee.

“I love people and like to make them feel good about themselves,” Zamler says. “Make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too.”

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Alice Handelman is a contributing writer and Movers & Shakers columnist. Her stories in Ladue News have won three, first-place awards in the Missouri Professional Communicators annual communications contest.

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