August 19, 1927 — March 17, 2019
Frances Eleanor Allison Sunderland went home to our heavenly Father on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Francie had a full beautiful life, passing at age 91 in Gresham, Oregon with her family at her bedside. In her final days, she was surrounded by songs, hymns, and words of love.
Frances (or Fran or Francie as she was known to many) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 19, 1927, the youngest child of Ira and Sadie Allison. She moved with her family to Oregon at age one and grew up in Corvallis, graduating from Oregon State University in 1949, where her father was a geology professor.
After earning her degree in Home Economics, she married John Charles Sunderland in 1950. With John’s career in the Air Force, she lived in many locations in their early married life including London, New Jersey, Bermuda, North Dakota, and Arkansas. It was wonderful for her to finally return to Oregon in 1969. Eventually, Lt. Colonel John and Frances built their dream home on the Sunderland Family Farm in Gresham.
Frances was an extraordinary mother to six children and was immensely proud of her family. Despite the chaos of many children with their educational activities and sports events, she managed the household with aplomb and grace! She had terrific organizational skills as evidenced by her catering three of her children’s weddings at home.
We still marvel at our mother’s creativity and energy. She was an avid reader, an accomplished seamstress, and produced many beautiful pieces of art, including a stain-glass window and multiple needlepoint and cross-stitch projects. She sang beautifully and loved to play both the piano and organ.
Frances was devoted to her church and gave many years of faithful service. She directed choirs, was the “Queen of the Forks” cook for church camp, played in the bell choir, and led Vacation Bible School for many years. She was the secretary at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church in Fairview, Oregon and served as a deacon. Her deep faith in God and confidence in His goodness sustained her throughout her life, especially as her health declined and she had to cope with severe pain and Alzheimer’s. Despite those challenges, she laughed frequently and expressed her love to all of us in multiple ways.
Frances is survived by John, her beloved husband of 69 years; and all six of her children and their families. The children include Helen Wolfe (Patrick), Margie Sunderland (Chris), Laura Gannon (Don), Joan Sunderland, Brian Sunderland (Julie), and Jim Sunderland (Luisa). She adored her eight grandchildren, Stephanie Williams (Greg), Meagan Rice (Caleb), Rachelle Gannon, Christopher Gannon, John Calvin Sunderland, Emily Sunderland, Gavin Sunderland, and Kate Sunderland. She was also “Nana-G” to seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church, Fairview, Oregon on April 13, 2019 at 2 pm.