Vivacious, elegant, sassy, adventurous and full of love until the end, Frances Marie Sessions left this world peacefully while surrounded by her family on March 4, 2021 in Lincoln City at the age of 92.
She was born Frances Marie Dunn on September 5, 1928 in Emporia, Kansas, the only child of Marvin and Bertha Dunn.
Growing up amid the poverty and desperation of the Great Depression in the Dust Bowl, Frances had to learn quickly how to be tough and resilient. That need to be strong was heightened after she tragically lost her mother at the young age of 12. Luckily, her father was one of the fortunate few in Emporia to maintain steady work during the Depression, but that experience shaped her life and outlook forever.
After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Oregon, where she became a lifelong Ducks fan (to the chagrin of her husband and children, all Beavers). Her adventurous spirit also flourished during her college years. She solo climbed three of the Cascades greatest peaks (Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack), worked at the Oregon Caves during summers, and was recruited for the CIA, which she claimed in later years to her grandchildren that she was too intelligent to work for the Central Intelligence Agency.
After graduating with degrees in Business and Home Economics, she met and married the first love of her life, Joe Steere, an engineer and WWII veteran. Together they had three children: Joseph, Jim, and Janice. They moved to a beautiful farm on the Siletz River, where she raised and guided her children.
On top of rearing a family and working as a cattle rancher, Frances also carved out her independence by pursuing careers of her own, including that of an educator and then real estate agent.
After Joe passed away in 1993, she traveled the world via cruise ship, where she taught one of her favorite passions – counted cross stitch. In the early 2000’s she met the next love of her life, Chuck Sessions, another veteran of WWII, at an 8th Air Force reunion. They married and spent 15 wonderful years together going back and forth between Iowa and her beloved farm before his passing.
As noted, Frances loved cross-stitching, where she produced beautiful pieces of work for her family and friends to enjoy. She also enjoyed traveling, gardening, sports (Go Ducks and Yankees, especially Derek Jeter) and spending time in the kitchen, creating delicious meals for her family. That includes her famous macaroni salad, a staple of the annual haying season at the farm and numerous birthday parties. She was very active and passionate about local and state politics and in the Lincoln County and Oregon Farm Bureau.
She is survived by her son, Joseph D. Steere (Cathy) of Boyer, daughter Janice Hathaway (Mark) of Kernville, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband Joe, second husband Chuck and middle son Jim. The family wants to thank the staff at Lakeview Senior Living for their loving care the past few years and especially during her final days.
“I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”