A healthy baby “firecracker” was born to Jay and Frances Hurd, July 4, 1917, 100 years and some odd days ago. Mom, Aunt Fran, Grandma and Frannie, as she was known to a long list of survivors (and many now departed friends and relatives), passed away Jan. 4, 2021. Her “fuse” and all-around zest for life seems to have fizzled out. She will be sorely missed by the few who have survived her.
Fran, or “Frannie”, enjoyed a lifetime spanning events which have shaped today’s world, airplanes, the first automobiles, trans-Atlantic cables, Earhart and Lindberg, two World Wars, two pandemics, Sputnik, Moon landings, the internet and wrist phones. She did all of this with a profound sense of curiosity, wit and gentle humor. She studied French for a bit in high school, caught the rocks-pox, learned how to waterski at around 40 years of age (she even had her knees replaced so she could water-ski better at the ripe young age of 50). Water-skiing was the only time she felt “beautiful”. Surprising that no one ever called her “Sparky”!
Fran spent her early years with parents and three siblings (sisters, Julie and Edie, and brother, Bob) in Grand Rapids, Mich., before they moved to the St. Paul, Minn., area. Following her 1935 graduation from Deep Haven High School, Minn., as class Valedictorian, the family moved to Seattle, Wash., where Fran would attend the University of Washington. She learned shorthand, was an excellent typist, and found stenographer’s work with the M.R. Smith Lumber and Shingle Co., later working for the Simpson Lumber Co. and Graybar Electric, continuously developing her stenographic an secretarial skills. She would reach an Executive Secretary position with the Tooling Division at the Renton, Wash., Boeing Airplane Company, from which she retired in the early 1970's.
Fran married Gordy (Gordon) Lynn in 1965, and they continued to live along the shores of Lake Washington until their “rock-pox” took them on return visits to Yuma, Ariz., where they became snowbirds. Eventually, Fran and Gordy bought a home in Yuma and sold their lakefront home. Following Gordy’s passing in 2013, she lived by herself, but never “alone”, and even drove until she was 95. Subtle failing health led her to move in with one of her favorite nieces, Gayle (Richied), on the outskirts of Centralia, Wash., in 2017. She continued to live with Gayle and Gary until her death.
A 100th birthday/Independence Day celebration was held at the Richeid’s “Gryphon Ranch” in 2017. She was visited by family members as often as time and opportunity would permit, and she remained spunky until her hourglass ran out. She liked to walk around the “ranch”, petting cats and dogs, picking dandelions and weeding, even when she was told not to! Many times Gayle would find her walking the long driveway (alone!) out to Lincoln Creek Road, or otherwise completely disappearing from Gayle’s caring and watchful eyes. She did NOT ride any of the Richied’s horses, “they’re too high off the ground”, for someone who’s only 5’2”.
Fran is survived by two sons, Cris and Byron Torp; three daughters-in-law, Julie Massinger, Judy Torp and Joyce (Bill) Kolts; two step-daughters, Cheryl (Garry) Sletten and Kathie (Steve) Simmons; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and an incalculable number of friends.
Fran will be interred alongside her husband, Gordy at the Washelli Cemetery in north Seattle. There may be a private celebration of life in the future. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to an organization which deals with memory loss or hospice care.