Our wonderful mother and friend, Frances, was born in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, on November 26, 1915. On August 11, 2012, she decided four months was long enough to be without her guy - it was time to join him in Heaven. We were sad to see her go but she was happiest by his side.
Growing up as a kid in the little mining town of Burke, Idaho and graduating from high school in Wallace, Fran moved to Spokane in her late teens. She helped her mom run their boarding house in the Gonzaga area and later on worked as a hairdresser downtown. During the war, she discovered a love for dressing up and dancing at the local officer’s club by entertaining soldiers that were stationed in the area. She loved to sing, participating in the local choirs, including the Spokane A Cappella choir.
Her life took a wonderful turn on the eventful night that she met the love of her life, Vern Kneeshaw. a hockey player with the Spokane Flyers. The two quickly became inseparable. Vern was an excellent dancer and together, they turned a few heads on the dance floor. In love, it was appropriate that they were married on Valentines Day in 1954 and were married for 58 years.
After starting their family, Fran relished her role as a mother and homemaker, nurturing and supporting her children, Sandy and Scott. She was always there to help, whether it was Camp Fire Girls, Cub Scouts or school activities. The family attended Salem Lutheran Church and Fran made sure her kids were there while she sang in the choir. She was always cooking, baking, canning and doing whatever it took to provide for the husband and kids she loved so dearly - she was the foundation of her happy home. The family enjoyed their times traveling, visiting friends and relatives and going to hockey games, always big fans of the Jets, Flyers and Chiefs. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the whole family participated in the Spokane Curling Club. Fran and Vern were also extensively involved in the Spokane Oldtimers Hockey Association. No matter the activity, you could count on Fran to always have her camera close by, eager to record the events.
She loved crossword puzzles, swing era music, old movies, traveling the world, spending time with her wonderful grandkids and was an avid Mariners fan (Edgar was her favorite) and was always young at heart, enjoying life with Vern. She is greatly missed.
Fran was preceded in death by her husband, Vern, her parents, Herman and Gertrude Balensiefen, her sister, Hazel Armani and her first child, Rae. She is survived by her two children Sandra Smart (Steve) of Chattaroy and Scott Kneeshaw (Betsy) of Medical Lake; grandchildren Paul Smart (Jenell), Patrick Smart, Danielle Kneeshaw, Laura Kneeshaw and Kyle Kneeshaw.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sullivan Park Care Center for their loving care of our mother. A celebration of Fran’s life will be held Friday, August 24th at 1:00 pm at First Assembly of God, 828 W. Indiana, Spokane.
Community Cremation Service
4407 N. Division #103
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