Frances Lena Skewis

 

 

Frances Lena Skewis, one of seven children, was born September 17, 1921 in Doon, Iowa.  Her brothers Jess, Bud, Glenn, and Art, and her sisters Marion and Evelyn all preceded her in death.

Fran started school at the age of four and was so bashful at that tender age, she could barely respond when spoken to.  That shyness gradually diminished as she grew older.  She excelled in sports and was an avid basketball and softball player in high school.

 

 

 

 


She graduated from Rock Rapids High School in 1938 and immediately went to work as a waitress at Doty’s Café in Rock Rapids.  A bit later she worked at Nick’s Restaurant, and during the walk to begin her day’s  shift, she would pass by the lumber yard where Jim Skewis was employed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim won her heart.  They married in 1939.

 

Fran really liked to say that her life’s true adventure began when she, Jim, and infant daughter Nancy drove from Iowa to Washington in the winter of 1942.  They left the day before gas rationing began and were engulfed by a snow storm the whole way.  She always loved “that fine Washington rain,” which she experienced for the first time as they came over Snoqualmie Pass, out of the snow, and into North Bend.

 

 

 

 

 

She and Jim settled in Seattle, where Jim had a job at Sand Point Naval Air Station.  They had two more children, a son Greg, and a daughter Marsha.  When the children were old enough, Fran returned to school.  Her secretarial skills were phenomenal:  she typed over 80 wpm, with complete accuracy – and this was in the day of manual typewriters.

She held a variety of positions with the State of Washington, spanning a career of 26 years.  Her favorite job was as a legal secretary with the Attorney General’s Office, from which she retired in 1979.  There was never a day when Fran did not want to go to work.  She LOVED her job.

 

 

 

She also loved salmon fishing, clam digging, playing pinochle, and square dancing.  She and Jim enjoyed traveling in their camper, and later in their motorhome.  Eventually they spent winters in Salton Sea, California, and summers back in Washington.

 

Jim’s ill health finally required that they return permanently to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to some of the family.  Fran cared for Jim for several years in their home.  He passed away in 1989.

 

 

 

As she adjusted to her solo life, Fran started journaling extensively.  Always eager to help others, she became a volunteer at Everett General Hospital and earned her 1000-Hour Pin.

 

She also kept in shape by walking several miles daily.  She joined daughter Marsha in a 5K fun run and won first place in her age class.

 

She went on to compete in several events through the years, including the Seattle Komen Race  For The Cure.  The race she loved the most was the Fairbanks, Alaska Midnight Sun Run, where she joined daughter Nancy, son-in-law Russ, and grandson Eric in 10K worth of fun.  She won first place in this event three years in a row – and yes, there were other entrants in her age category!

 

 

 

Fran developed a passion for traveling and enjoyed cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean and to the Panama Canal.   Ever the adventurer, she joined the cruise ships’ on-shore excursions, including a rigorous climb to a famous waterfall in Panama.

 

She regularly flew to North Pole, Alaska, in the fall to help her daughter Nancy prepare her classroom for a new group of first graders.  Fran loved to see new places, meet new people, and most of all, to be of service.

 

 

 

In addition to journaling, Fran wrote a few short stories and several poems, two of which were published locally.  She was especially thrilled to attend a poetry convention on the West Coast in 2008.

 

 

Seven (almost eight) years ago Fran met a newcomer at her church.  Since that first morning worship service, Norm Sammons was Fran’s constant companion and best friend.  Norm and Fran belonged to two coffee groups.  They were active in YMCA water aerobics, the Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society, and the WA State Public Employees Union.  They enjoyed dining and gambling at a variety of casinos in Nevada, California and Washington.  But they definitely considered the Snoqualmie Casino (near North Bend, Washington) their “home.”

 

Fran remained living independently in her apartment in Bellevue, WA where she had resided for the last 16 years.  She received excellent palliative care through Evergreen Hospice.  Fran’s physical heart gave out just 2 week shy of her 91st birthday.  But the generosity of her emotional heart continues to bless all those who knew her.  Fran’s physical heart gave out just two weeks shy of her 91st birthday.

 

 

12 Responses to “Frances Lena Skewis”

  • Diana says:

    Beautifully written and presented for a beautiful soul.

  • Barb Raddle says:

    Over the years I had a lot of fun with your mom and dad. One thing that comes to mind is when they parked in Roadside Park with their motorhome and high water come up and Larry had to tow them out. It rained all the time they were there and they spent their whole vacation in our driveway, but we had a great time and lots of laughs. The years go by too quickly. My deepest sympathies to all of your families. Cherish all your memories!

    Barb Raddle

  • Leslie Boese(Raddle) says:

    My sympathies to all of your families, even though we have never met, I knew your mom and dad. I saw the pictures of Fran and was just amazed at how much she looked like my Gram, but then again, they were sisters. I do remember back when I was in high school, I was riding around town (as teenagers did in those days) and we heard this loud commotion. Little did I know it was coming from my house. Jim Logan was calling a square dance in mom and dad’s driveway. All the neighbors were in the street listening. I was a little embarrased at that time (typical teenager), but as I thought of it over the years, it was really a pretty cool thing that was going on. Amazing how things change when you grow up. It’s the little things in life that are so worth remembering, so hold those close to your heart.

    Leslie (Raddle) Boese and Family

  • Rheba Rozeboom says:

    Marsha, Nancy and Greg, my deepest sympathy goes out to you all in the loss of your mom. I loved her dearly and her wonderful sense of humor and outlook on life will be sorely missed. We had such fun visiting her in AZ when Nancy and Russ would spend their winters there. I also remember seeing her and your dad at Barb’s when mom,(Evelyn) was alive and when she came after mom’s death and stayed and we visited and recalled all the memories of the family. She was a good person and truly did live her life to the fullest. Always loved receiving her letters! She will be missed.

  • Nancy Abbott says:

    This is a beautiful summary of Fran’s life and giving characteristics. I thank you, Marsha, for writing to let me know of Fran’s passing. I so looked forward to and enjoyed her poems and the telling of her many activities at birthday and Christmas times. I met and became friends with Fran many years ago when we both worked at Employment Security Department in Olympia. We only “hooked up” a couple of times after she moved to Bellevue but I always looked forward to her cards and letters.She was a very special lady and she will be missed.God bless you all in this time of loss.

  • Bev & Joe Klinkenborg says:

    We are saddened to learn of Fran’s passing. We saw her last as she and Nancy were passing through Belton on they way to or from Branson, MO. Met at the Country Kitchen for coffee and had a good visit. We will surely miss her yearly Christmas notes. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  • Bev & Joe Klinkenborg says:

    We are saddened to learn of Fran’s passing. We last saw her as she and Nancy were passing through Belton on their way to or from Branson, MO. We met at the Country Kitchen for coffee and had a good visit. We will surely miss her yearly Christmas notes. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  • Bev & Joe Klinkenborg says:

    We are saddened to learn of Fran’s passing. We last saw her as she and Nancy were traveling through Belton to or from Branson, MO. We met at the Country Kitchen for coffee and had a good but short visit. We will surely miss her yearly Christmas notes. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  • Bev & Joe Klinkenborg says:

    We are saddened to learn of Fran’s passing. We last saw her when she and Nancy were on their way through Belton to or from Branson, MO. We met at the Country Kitchen for coffee and had a nice but short visit. We surely will miss her yearly Christmas notes. Our thoughts and prayers are will all of you.

  • Ray & Lana Sammons says:

    We had the great pleasure of meeting Fran on a few occasions. What a wonderful person she was for the very few times we had met her. It will be a great loss to Norm and her family for sure. Once you first met her she was like you had met your best friend. She had a way about her that made you feel that you had known her for years. What a genuine soul she was. Bless her and her journey into the future, God Bless.

  • Ray & Lana Sammons says:

    How sad we were to hear of the loss of Fran. We had the privilege of meeting her a couple times. She always extended the feeling that you were her best friend. She was so easy to talk to and made you feel so special. She truly will be missed by Norm and all of her friends and family. She will be welcomed with open arms into her new life she will have in the future. God Bless her.

  • Toni Sarzillo says:

    Fran was a lovely woman. Very kind with a quick wit and sence of humor. I enjoyed out appointments at the JCP salon in Bellevue where I would style her hair inbetween her activities for church, vacations or just outings with Norm. Today we may only see through a darkened glass and feel the loss of someone precious to us, yet just on the other side she is waiting in the Sons light to welcome us all home! God Bless you Fran, and all who have loved you. We’ll see you in the morning!

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