Frances E. Kunze
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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.
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24 entries
May 21, 2020
Dan and family, so sad to hear of your Mom passing keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers..
Leisa McDowell
May 20, 2020
She was so pleasant and comforting. I always felt welcomed and got to look at her flowers she was growing in the garden. really miss her.
Nina Turner
May 15, 2020
I met and sat beside Fran at Vancouver Community Concert Band rehearsals. Playing saxophone music together was truly inspirational. She loved telling stories about her wonderful family, crocheting gifts and farm life. Fran was truly a wonderful person with a love for life. The alto saxophone section will truly miss you, Fran.
Dona Chidester, Vancouver WA
May 14, 2020
We are sorry to hear of Fran's passing. She was such a lively presence at Clark Co. Farm Forestry Assoc. events for many years. Her famous, excellent peaches and peach recipes were so luscious at summer potlucks and at the farm store. Her encouraging support of education for the younger generations inspired others. Our condolences to the family.
Jane and Peter Revesz
May 13, 2020
We are so sorry to hear of Frannie's passing. She was always a great hostess at family reunions. We enjoyed visiting with her and purchasing our peaches for canning.
Condolences to the whole Kunze family.

Jerry and Janet Snyder
Vancouver, WA
May 13, 2020
Oh Dan and Geniva so sorry to hear about your mom, she will be truely missed. I use to buy from her the peaches and pears would be selling I still drive by her place and wonder when she will open up her little store. It's strange how the memories keep coming of the good times of seeing her every season that Peaches and the Pairs were ready to buy. My thought will be with you and Dan and the rest of the family I will be giving you a call in a month or more. You take care.
Debbie Hren
May 13, 2020
Karla: Sorry to of Frans passing. It was alway nice to see her when
Georgia B. And I would come for those little gherkin. Sandy Beatty
May 13, 2020
We were very fortunate to live next to the Kunze filbert orchard when we moved to Vancouver in 1978. Fran was so good to our children. Our son loved to be with the Kunze family and still talks about the wonderful pancakes she always made for them. All the neighborhood boys knew about and loved those pancakes. She cooked as many as they could eat. Indeed a special lady, and a loving neighbor.
Toodie Marx
May 12, 2020
I hope to play as long as Fran did.
Boyd Malcom
May 12, 2020
Hi. I did not know Fran very well personally, just thru the Vancouver Community Band and occasional brief pleasantry's. She was always an inspiration with her positive energy, politeness, and dedication and ability to perform in the band with her many years of experience. That always amazed me. I hope I can do the same when/if I have the privilege to have as long of a life as she did. She will be missed. You should be proud of her.
Dan Herrigstad
May 12, 2020
Frannie was the heart of our Vancouver Community Concert Band. Her enthusiasm and affectionate nature warmed us all. We will miss her so very much.
Our condolences to all her Family and many Friends.
John&Dorothy Parkin
May 12, 2020
To a great aunt Frannie she was the best farmer in the world, she loved to laugh and tell you what you wanted to know. My mom loved her visits and have a glass of wine together. RIP aunt Frannie you're gonna be missed
James Moore
May 12, 2020
you always welcomed me with a smile as i was a newcomer to the band. i will miss your reassuring presence behind me. i wish i had known you longer....
willemina niosi
May 12, 2020
I am so sorry to hear this. My children have such good memories of going to the farm with my mom and myself. Mrs. Kunze was always there with a recipe or could help you figure out what went wrong with the baking or canning.
Mary Klicke
May 12, 2020
We will miss you.
Louise Casey
May 12, 2020
We will all miss her. Richard Rystrom, VanBand
May 12, 2020
Fran was a part of the Vancouver Community Concert band for many years. She was a ray of sunshine in the Saxophone section and was always a joy to have in rehearsals and performances. She was an inspiration to us all and is sorely missed in the band and in our hearts. Rest in Peace, and our most sincere condolences to her family and friends. Matt Oftedahl, VCCB Board President/Tuba
Matt Oftedahl
May 11, 2020
I was so sad to hear that "Aunt Fran" had passed. I have a lot of good memories at that house growing up! The Swedish pancakes were my favorite breakfast! I can hear My Mom and her giggling away in Heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys through this difficult time. Love, Angie
Angie Moore
May 11, 2020
We will certainly miss wonderful and dynamic Fran! From the very first time we brought our Italian prunes over to the Kunze dryer, we fell in love with Fran's energy and personality. We continued to frequent the store through the years. Visiting with Fran was always the highlight! Our condolences to Karla and the entire family.
Diane and Terry O'Connor
May 11, 2020
Will miss her positive attitude about life, always had something good to say about everyone.
While raising my kids as a single parent she helped so many times with extra fruits and veggies to can.
Such a great friend and fun Bunco player.
Thinking of the entire Kunze family, prayers for all.
Sandy Stackhouse and family
May 11, 2020
You are in our thoughts as your family changes with your loss and honors a remarkable person and life.
AnnMarie Haldeman
May 11, 2020
Always looked forward to seeing her at the farm. We did swap recipes and I enjoyed hearing stories of her childhood.

She was so joyful and enjoyed cooking, canning and baking as my mother and grandmothers did.

Will have to make her dried fruit soup and homemade bread as a remembrance. She told me that it was a favorite treat for her and her siblings after school.

Her zest for life and love of family, exchange students, friends, farming and her community make her an example of how to live.

"I love to keep busy" was something I heard often.
She was a great woman and will be sorely missed.
Mary Eisenfeld
May 10, 2020
Dan,sorry for you and your family. Thoughts and Prayers. Ken Coats
May 10, 2020
She was a great Aunt and a great friend. She would just stop by our home and bring pillow cases and table runners. We will miss her so much.
Bev Scott
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