Obituary: Irene Myrtle (Mackie) Francis

Irene Myrtle Francis, 89, of Sweet Home passed away Friday.

Irene was the fifth of 14 children born to William S. and Iva Gertrude (Lucha) Mackie. And she was the 3rd oldest of the 10, nine girls and one boy, to reach adulthood. Her birth was recorded at Bonners Ferry, Idaho shortly after the family had left Lethbridge, Alberta. About five years later the family moved to Sheridan, Oregon.

She graduated from the Sheridan High School and married Cluff E. Francis of Buell, Oregon on June 5, 1939. Late in 1940 Cluff was severely injured in a dynamite/logging accident and following the birth of their son in May, 1941, Irene became the main support for the family for a number of years. During WWII she worked in a sawmill in Willamina, Oregon as a sawyer.

By 1946, the family had grown to four, and Irene, Cluff and the two children moved to Sweet Home, Oregon and remained there the rest of their lives. They loved the outdoors and the wilderness of the Cascade Mountains. For many years they worked as fire and equipment watchers for several logging companies and lived up in the mountains at the logging sites all summer and into the winter. On several occasions their RV trailer had to be brought out of the mountains behind a caterpillar because of deep snows.

In the 1960’s they began going south for the winters to the “Slabs” at Niland, California and to Yuma and Quartzite, Arizona. Cluff died in 1997. Irene continued these winter trips south, now going to the Wickenburg, Arizona area, for about 10 years.

Irene is survived by a son, Larry E Francis and wife, Donna Arlene Francis of Salem, and daughter Donna Raye Thurman and husband, Darrell Thurman of Scio. Additional survivors, all of Sweet Home, are grandchildren, Teresa “Terry” Thompson and Larry Thompson; great-grandchildren, Sandy Thompson, Katie Ensley and Wyatt Ensley and great-great-granddaughter Kadence Thompson.

She is also survived by three sisters, Doreen Remington of Canby; and Dorothy Wyss and Shirley Chamberlain, both of Sheridan, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Viewing will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 13 at Sweet Home Funeral Chapel. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, October 14, 2010 also at Sweet Home Funeral Chapel, 1443 Long St., Sweet Home, Oregon, 97386

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her name to the Casey Eye Clinic in Portland or the VFW in Sweet Home.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements.