FRANCES E. KUNZE
November 16, 1927 ˜ March 24, 2020
Our Mother, Grandmother, and best friend, Fran Kunze, passed away peacefully from natural causes in her home on the morning of March 24th, 2020 at age 92.
Mom was born in Duluth, Minnesota on November 16, 1927 to Swedish parents, Hjalmar and Ida Bergwall. We heard many stories of her growing up near Lake Superior. Her father captained a merchant marine ship on the Great Lakes while her mother stayed home raising five children. As the Great Depression came, they had to move from their home in Duluth to the country where the family lived in a small two-room home where she and her siblings, picked wild berries, helped with chores and of course, walked for miles in the snow to go to school.
In the early years of World War II when Mom was 15, her father moved the family to the Walnut rove area of Vancouver, Washington with the promise of work in the shipyards. Her father passed away shortly thereafter.
Mom met and fell in love with a young man, Waldo Kunze, and they married soon after his discharge from the Navy, on October 12, 1946.
They became farming, built their home and after 9 years, began raising their family of five children. Growing up we all remembered that work came first, then play, and there was plenty of both.
Many will remember Mom as a ”fixture” in her farm store. She loved to visit and share recipes with her customers, many of whom became dear friends.
Mom had many loves...traveling being one of them. She visited many countries and much of the US over the years. She was a member of the WA Farm Forestry and she and dad were chosen as ”Tree Farmers of the Year in 1996”. She played saxophone in the Vancouver Community Concert Band for many years which brought her great joy until shortly before her death. One thing she looked forward to monthly was playing Bunco in her group she belonged to for over 50 years, the 2nd Thursday of every month you know where she was! While sitting at home you would find her in her favorite chair by the window, looking out at Mt. Hood and admiring her peaceful farm while embroidering pillowcases and table runners. She loved giving gifts, watching her grandkids, and welcoming anyone that came by the farm. She always wore a smile, had kind word to share or a joke to tell.
Mom loved her family, and we all loved her. She was affectionately known as ”Grandma Farm” by all of her grand and great-grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were her beloved son, Joe, his wife Cindi; her husband and love of her life, Waldo Kunze; sisters, Selma and Florence; and brother, Rudy.
Missing her terribly are her children: Karla and Scott Brunson, Kurt and Norma Kunze, Dan and Geneva Kunze, Gust Kunze; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren, with another one expected soon.
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Published in The Columbian on May 10, 2020.