Frances Dunfee Larson, 86Published 8:27am Sunday, July 20, 2014
Born to Earl Dunfee and Sophie Hall Dunfee in Austin, Minn., on Aug. 28, 1927, Frances Dunfee Larson passed away at home in Seattle on the anniversary of her father’s birth, June 20, 2014.
Earl, a successful professional baseball player before he became a federal inspector at the Hormel plant, had finished high school even after both parents had died lingering deaths, and continued to read a page of the unabridged dictionary each day throughout his life as a form of self improvement.
An only child, “Frankie” acquired a love of baseball, learning and family from her doting orphan father. Frankie was also a talented vocalist and musician and was hired to perform at churches and weddings as early as high school. Having gone off to college to study music, Frankie returned home during her first year, when her mother passed away. Instead of returning to college, she married Richard L. Larson, also of Austin, in the First Methodist Church of Austin. She had three sons, Richard, Bruce and Mark, all born in Austin before she was 23, and a fourth, Scott, nearly 10 years later, after the family had relocated to the Seattle area. Even while tirelessly nurturing this busy crew, without missing their athletic, school or scouting events, Frankie tended to unfinished personal business and obtained her B.A. in education with a minor in anthropology from the University of Washington.
During her studies at the UW, Frankie added a fascination with Native American culture to her eclectic interests. This led her to hand-build a full size plains indian tepee, which was installed on a wooded 5-acre parcel on Camano Island, Wash. Thereafter, this was the site of many family gatherings, especially in celebration of Frankie’s birthday. Her studies combined with her longtime focus on family also sparked an intense interest in genealogy. Not only did this result in vast quantities of meticulously documented research tracing branches of the family tree back into the 16th century,
but she became so accomplished in this field that she successfully published and sold out of “The Genealogist’s Dictionary.” She was paid to teach many classes on the subject to both hobbyists and serious students, including at Bellevue College and at the University of Washington’s experimental college.
Frankie is preceded in death by her loving second husband of too few years, Christian Heinrichs; and her son Mark Larson.
She is survived by her sons Richard Larson (Sue), Bruce Larson (Rebecca) and Scott Larson (Elaine); her stepchildren Kit Heinrichs and Ann Payne (Mike); and her grandchildren and step-grandchildren Richard (Nicole, Taylor, Peyton), Bruce (Ryan, Matthew, Ian), Mark (Mitchell, Matthew), Scott (Andrew, Emily).
Our bantamweight champion has been removed from our corner but her loving, selfless spirit lives in our souls, and her relentless high standards will serve always as our model. A private celebration of Frankie’s life will be held by the family.