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Frances Lillian Johnson Leedham
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Birth: Jan. 31, 1898
Clackamas County
Oregon, USA
Death: Apr. 16, 1988
Multnomah County
Oregon, USA

Frances Johnson received her primary education in the public schools of Milwaukie, Oregon, and was graduated from the town's high school in 1916. During the early 1920's she attended a nursing college at San Francisco, California, and later lived briefly in Hawaii Territory and Los Angeles, California. Frances's eldest child, a daughter, was born during this time, and subsequently adopted by her sister and brother-in-law, Olivia and Clarence Conner.

On November 24, 1922, at Vancouver, Washington, Frances married Tom Leedham, a widower with a ten-year-old daughter, and a descendant of a prosperous clan of planters with ancient roots in Elsham Parish, Lincolnshire, England. Tom's father, a butcher, was long active in business circles in Clinton County, Iowa. As an infant Tom had traveled overland with his family to the small mill town of Cosmopolis, Washington, where he had grown to adulthood. As a young man, he had entered the lumber industry as a sawyer.

The Leedhams lived for several years in Grays Harbor County, Washington, but after 1927 they resided in Oregon while Tom continued to follow mill work. He died at 53, after being struck by a moving train in a Portland-area railroad yard.

As an impoverished widow with ten children another had died at birth Frances Leedham endured real hardship. However, she managed her responsibilities with characteristic dedication, making certain that her large brood was fed, housed, clothed, and educated. During the 1940's the family lived on small farms at Barton and Eagle Creek, in eastern Clackamas County, Oregon. Later, drawing upon her nursing skills, Frances went to work in a nearby hospital. In the 1950's and early 1960's, she lived at Kinston, North Carolina, but after 1962 she made her home permanently in Milwaukie, Oregon.

After retiring, Frances maintained an active lifestyle and enjoyed many leisure pursuits. Gardening, with its practical benefits, long remained one of her favorite pastimes. Frances' cooking skills, too, were substantial; her breads, in particular, often drew special praise. During the 1960's she was a frequent guest on KOIN Kitchen, a Portland television cooking program, and she later became a familiar fixture in the kitchen of Milwaukie's Four Seasons Restaurant, a gourmet establishment co-owned by her son, Ralph Leedham.

Doll collecting, however, remained Frances' most cherished hobby. For many years she operated a doll and toy business, aptly named "Busy Bee," in her Milwaukie home. Her attic workshop was filled to capacity with hundreds of her unique creations, all of which quickly found an eager and appreciative market at local craft shows and fairs. The modest income she earned from her hobby-cum-occupation financed her annual holiday visits with her children who lived in distant states.

A consummate storyteller, Frances enjoyed nothing more than a chance to entertain guests with droll recollections of her life experiences. The Irish folklore passed down to her by her maternal grandmother, Sarah Jane McCann, usually figured prominently in her colorful reminiscences. One of the memorable events of her later life took place in 1978, when, at 80, she made a sentimental journey to her grandmother's birthplace in Ireland where she sought out ancestral home sites, burial places, and various new-found kinsmen.

With some help from her children, Frances was able to remain in her own home in Milwaukie into her advanced years. Though her health deteriorated within a year of her death, she retained a clear mind and memory. Some weeks after her 90th birthday, Frances entered a Portland care center, where she died following a brief stay. 
Family links: 
  James Isaac Johnson (1858 - 1943)
  Margaret Ann McCann Johnson (1864 - 1956)
  Thomas William Leedham (1886 - 1939)*
  Jean Marie Leedham Danielson (1930 - 2013)*
  Joseph Lawrence Leedham (1933 - 1994)*
  George Edward Leedham (1935 - 1935)*
  Timothy Paul Leedham (1937 - 1984)*
  Charles Leo Johnson (1885 - 1961)*
  James Leroy Johnson (1887 - 1964)*
  Margaret Jane Johnson Braun (1889 - 1980)*
  Sarah Eugenie Johnson Large (1892 - 1967)*
  Olivia Ethel Johnson Conner (1894 - 1986)*
  Frances Lillian Johnson Leedham (1898 - 1988)
  Amy Martha Johnson Smith (1903 - 1996)*
*Calculated relationship
Gethsemani Catholic Cemetery
Clackamas County
Oregon, USA
Plot: Section 3, Row 35, Plot 8
Created by: EGF
Record added: Mar 08, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 86405657
Frances Lillian <i>Johnson</i> Leedham
Added by: Sparky
Frances Lillian <i>Johnson</i> Leedham
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Peka
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