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Re: Obit for Irvin W. FRENCH


Posted By: Sarah Thorson Little (email)
Date: 6/13/2017 at 01:59:38

In Response To: Obit for Irvin W. FRENCH (Mary Jane Parsons)

Irvin French died in Longview, Washington.

Irvin Wilson French, 85, of Longview, Washington died Feb. 20, 2001, at a local nursing home. He was born Dec. 9, 1915, in Estherville, Iowa, to Royal Eli and Emma Jane (Patterson) French and grew up there. He lived in Cherokee, Iowa, Duluth, Minn., and Chippewa Falls, Wisc., prior to moving to Longview in July 1963.

Mr. French worked as the paint department manager for Montgomery Wards for 40 years, retiring in 1980. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Kelso and the Kelso Elks. He enjoyed his beach property in Ocean Park, fishing, hunting, woodworking and camping with his family. He built the best campfires.

He married Virginia May Olson March 9, 1940, in Estherville. She survives him at home. Also surviving are a son, Gerald French of Edmonds, Wash.; two daughters, Cheryl Risner and Jacqueline French, both of Longview; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of Kelso with the Rev. Robert Henre officiating. Arrangements are by Columbia Funeral Service.

His daughter's obituary:

Jacqueline Renee French, 47, of Longview, died Jan. 7, 2002, at the Hospice Care Center due to complications from multiple sclerosis. She was born Aug. 15, 1954, in Estherville, Iowa, to Irvin and Virginia French and moved to Longview in 1963, coming from Chippewa Falls, Wis. Miss French was a 1972 graduate of R.A. Long High School where she played the clarinet and was active in the swim team, glee club and chorus. She also was active in the Girl Scouts. She attended Lower Columbia College and worked for North Pacific Paper Corp., until 1988, when she was diagnosed with M.S. She had a strong religious faith and loved her Monday night prayer group, her loud music and animals, especially her dog and two cats. She was a San Francisco 49ers fan. Her biggest thrill was speaking to Joe Montana on the telephone.

She was preceded in death by her father Feb. 20, 2001; a special friend, Rita Havird; and her grandparents. Survivors include her mother in Longview; a brother, Gary French of Edmonds, Wash.; a sister, Cheryl Risner of Longview; three nephews; two nieces; three aunts; and many friends. A celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church with Pastor Robert Henre officiating. Columbia Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

When Virginia French took flowers to her late husband and daughter's joint mausoleum niche at Longview Memorial Park a week ago, she discovered that thieves had raided it.

"I just can't believe anybody would do anything so terrible," said French, 82, of Longview. "I just don't understand it. It's been so hard for me, getting over her death anyway."

Her youngest daughter, Jackie French, died Jan. 7, 2002, at age 47 of complications from multiple sclerosis. Her urn stood beside the urn of Virginia's husband of 61 years, Irvin, who died 11 months before Jackie. There's a place for Virginia when the time comes.

"I used to go up there and sit and talk to them," Virginia French said. "I feel like my family, my daughter, was violated. These were personal things of my little girl. It's a hurting story, it really is."

The thieves didn't take any of Irvin's handmade woodcrafts or fishing lures. But most of Jackie's mementos were gold, which apparently tempted the thieves enough to pry off the sealed, unbreakable glass front.

"I wish the man who sold (the niche) to me had warned me about having jewelry in there," French said. "I never would have done it."

She said she draped her daughter's gold initial necklace around the porcelain urn. In front of the urn she placed a heart-shaped silver box lined with pink velvet, and inside the box she laid her daughter's 1972 R.A. Long class ring, a peridot birthstone ring and a chain with an R.A. Long emblem. Behind the box stood a 12-inch-high doll wearing a crocheted R.A. Long cheerleader uniform, a gift from a nurse.

"What could people do with that doll that was precious to my daughter? Probably throw it in a garbage can somewhere," French said bitterly.

John Miller, facilities manager at Longview Memorial Park, said French's loss "just makes your stomach turn. She took such care to make something meaningful for her family."

He said that on Dec. 6, a maintenance man discovered that someone removed rosette fastenings from several of the glass-fronted niches. Because the niche fronts had been replaced and because property in a niche belongs to the family and not to the cemetery the staff could not determine which niches had been disturbed.

The Daily News -- Longview, Washington
December 15, 2004

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