Shirley Ann Frank
July 6, 1934 – March 25, 2019
Dressed with consummate elegance, evening lights sparkling around her, Mrs. Frank stepped onto the landing to welcome so many of us into her home, into her heart. Grand and engaging, Shirley Ann Bassett Frank lived passionately, traveled extensively, and loved us fiercely. And, true to form, she did it her way when she bid us farewell early in the morning of March 25, 2019. From the comfort of home, her cherished children escorted her with love to embark on her ultimate voyage.
A lifelong resident of Washington, Shirley was born on July 6, 1934 in Wenatchee to Band Director Edward Bassett and school teacher Nada Forrester Bassett. She grew up in North Bend and attended Mt. Si High School. Much of her indomitable spirit was forged on horseback in long hot summers spent on her Uncle Cassell Forrester’s cattle ranch in Okanagon. After graduating with a degree in interior design from Washington State University, Shirley moved to Seattle, where she met and married Adolph Frank, a handsome Italian boy from Concrete, Washington and son of Gaetano and Rafaela Francomano who emigrated from Calabria, Italy. Shirley enjoyed Dolph’s long association with Nordstrom’s where he worked for over 35 years managing several stores. Raising their two children in Seattle and Yakima, the family vacationed on the cool, misty Pacific coast. In the mid 70’s they built Shirley’s treasured beach house, Argonauta, on the cliff above Iron Springs. After Val and Jeff graduated high school, Dolph and Shirley settled in Edmonds, where they lived for nearly 30 years. When Dolph passed away in 2006 Shirley moved to Seattle, making friends throughout the Queen Anne, Lake Washington, and University of Washington communities.
Shirley nurtured so many family members, friends, friends of the family, and families of friends in her homes in Yakima and Edmonds, and most especially, at the beach house. Days were filled with sand and clams, reading and tea, breeze and hummingbirds. Evenings were filled with laughter and games, food and wine, music and lively debate. And the ocean - gray, pungent, rolling. Always rolling. Healing.
Shirley’s activities were wide and varied, spanning reading, singing, the fine arts, entertaining, traveling, jewelry making, shopping, fundraising, mentoring, and gardening. She played the French Horn in the Seattle Symphony, served as a Cub Scout Den Mother in Yakima, curated an art show at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, sang in the Choir of the Sound, founded the Renaissance Ladies service club in Edmonds, and started and participated in numerous book clubs. She grew sublime dahlias at the beach and glorious flower baskets in Edmonds. She was a dauntless player of word games and a skilled poker player. She was enamored of ancient Egypt, cooked masterfully, shared generously, didn't shy from dropping an occasional f-bomb, and gave several Dachshunds a loving home. Shirley was an avid reader and supporter of independent bookstores; she would be very pleased if her friends choose to remember her by patronizing your local bookstore.
Shirley’s joy was her grandchildren. Jonathan, Hannah, and Emma call her “Gra”. Being Gra was her greatest role, her highest calling, her deepest happiness. Shirley is survived by her daughter, Valerie Gorder and her husband, Greg Gorder, son Jeffrey Frank and his wife, Dina Yunker Frank, grandchildren Jonathan, Hannah, and Emma Gorder, all of Seattle; brother Richard Bassett and his wife Georgia, of North Lopham, England; cousin William Bassett of Lacey, Washington and his daughter Megan.
Mom-Gra-Shirley was unique in her style, her confidence, the broad range of her interests, and the verve with which she lived. She brought energy wherever she arrived, arranged beauty in her surroundings, was fearless in intellectual pursuits, outspoken with her opinions, and unflinchingly loyal to her friends. She showed us how to enjoy what is around us, share the bounty, embrace new experiences, and move grandly through our lives.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at St. Ignatius Chapel on the Seattle University campus in Seattle, Washington. A reception will follow at Casey Atrium, also on the Seattle University campus. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to New Beginnings or St. Francis House.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Shirley Ann Frank
April 26, 2019
On behalf of Janice Stamey, she wishes to express her sadness upon hearing of Shirley's death. She so enjoyed the times they shared together in Edmonds and at the Seattle Symphony. Shirley's family will be in my mother's prayers and thoughts.
William Gregory Hunicutt
April 15, 2019
Ahhh, Shirley! We’re fellow moon children born under the Cancer sign. And we became friends as condo-neighbors at Lake House during the autumn of our lives. I’m blessed that we met and enjoyed our brief yet satisfying friendship.
Shirley, thanks for being a shooting star for those Lake House years.
LOVE... Greg Hunicutt
April 13, 2019
To Shirley's Family: Shirley was my forever friend (52 years) who shared so many meaningful times with me. When our children were little, we'd plan an
excursion to the berry farms to pick berries for jam; telling the children to eat all they want while we were there, then having a picnic afterwards. Shirley and I traveled together, comforted each other, and were soul mates. She took me to my first opera, where she sang in the Seattle Opera Chorus; she and my husband, Dale, shared the love of opera and music in general. We discovered & bought our beach houses and named them from Anne Marrow Lindberg's book, "Gifts from the Sea". Now her footprints on the sands of time will always be with those who loved her and who she loved. Thank you, Shirley, YOU will always be my Gift From The Sea, I will miss you! With understanding and much love to you all in Shirley's family.
Shirley and Dale Martin
Susan Park Kimpton
April 6, 2019
So sorry to hear of your loss, Val and Jeff. Take good care.