Frances Maxine Gorton

Frances Maxine Gorton

Frances (Fran) Maxine Gorton passed away peacefully with family by her side on July 9, 2019, in Spokane, Washington, where she resided for the last 15 years.

Frances was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Theophille Charles Sauvageau and Mary Margaret Wetzel, on June 3, 1931.

In 1949, Fran graduated first in her class from Marycliff High School in Spokane. While in high school, Fran was a member of the Silver Blades Skate Club, performed in the Ice Parade of 1947, at the Spokane Ice Arena, skating in “Rhythm-On-Ice” in black and white, and “Gals in Calico”. Her after-school job was at Doyle’s Ice Cream Parlor, where she discovered her life-long love of ice-cream.
She was married to Merl D. Gorton on October 18, 1949, in Spokane, Washington. They were divorced in 1974.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in 1969, and a Master of arts in teaching from Whitworth College in 1972. Throughout her education, she achieved high academic honors, while raising a large family of seven children. After graduation, Fran taught in the Mead School District as a Middle School 7th grade Art and Crafts teacher, taught advanced textile night classes at Whitworth College, and teen-age painting at the Spokane YWCA. Late in 1974 she moved to Leone, American Samoa, where she taught art at Leone High School from December 1974 to June 1976. While living in Samoa, she traveled to Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii, and her art was inspired by Pacific Island influences after that.

After returning to Washington, she worked for Washington State Child Protective Services, in Longview, Washington, from 1977 to 1980, and for Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, in Olympia, Washington from 1980 to retirement in 1993. After she retired, she took many trips with the Global Volunteers, a group of retired educators that volunteer around the world. Her travels included Mexico, Spain, China, Belize and New Mexico.

Fran was an accomplished artist, using oil on canvas, charcoal on paper, macramé, applique quilt art combining different textiles with weaving, macramé, crewel embroidery, patchwork, pottery and bead work. Her art was exhibited in several Spokane locations throughout her time attending Whitworth college. She also created wall hangings using the Bargello quilting technique. In later years she designed and created jewelry using beads made of many materials, sharing this hobby with her sister, Margaret. Many of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren wear necklaces and bracelets she made.

Fran is survived by seven children: Mary Wood (Bert), Spokane, WA, Karen Robinette (Tom), Spokane, WA, Gail Grill (John), Portland, Oregon, David Gorton (Pat), of Spokane, WA, Daniel Gorton (Lora) of Spokane, WA, Ann Pickerd (John), of Hillsboro, Oregon and Andrew Gorton (Debbie), of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; a sister, Margaret Hunter, of Spokane, Washington, and a brother Charles “Chuck” Sauvageau of East Wenatchee, Washington; 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Service to be held on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., at Heritage Funeral Home.