Obituary of Frances Elizabeth Shoda
Frances Elizabeth Edwards Shoda was born in a Texas winter in a town called Matador, on January 14, 1930 to be exact. Her parents and family called her Sugar for much of her life, and she had the cowgirl boots emblazoned with it to prove it. (Later her family would laugh at this nickname because we all knew her as Feisty Frances who was a bit more salty than sweet.)
Her parents were Bruce and Mary Frances Edwards and she was the oldest of four kids – her younger siblings Marguerite, Bruce Jr. and Joe. They grew up in the 1930s and 40s in Texas and near Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Sugar had lots of friends and her first job as a telephone operator. After high school she met Russell Kinsell, fell in love, got married and had four daughters – Elizabeth, Barbara, Lucetta and Terri – who also grew up in the desert country of New Mexico. When the oldest were teenagers they moved to Cambridge, Idaho, to ranch and later moved to Weiser, Idaho. Frances did all sorts of odd jobs and, like most working mothers, took her daughters along most of the time. From running the golf course to operating the ski hill - everything was a family affair. Frances and Russell divorced shortly after the move to Weiser and she later married Lefty Shoda of Ontario, Oregon, who was our beloved Japanese-American stepfather and grandfather until his death from cancer in 1987. Soon after Lefty’s death she tried out so many other jobs, and when she finally retired she became a woman of the world – traveling all over it, often alone or with her dear friends she met in the Red Hat Society or somewhere else along the way. Frances loved sharing photos of all her worldly adventures with anyone who would listen and when flying or frequently boarding cruise ships became a bit too expensive, she taught herself to drive a one ton dully and pull a fifth wheel trailer and traveled the USA, often stopping to visit her grandkids now scattered about. Speaking of grandkids, she has 11 of them (and 33 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren). They will remember her most for her wild sense of style, her Foxy Lady keychain, the smell of spearmint gum and cigarette smoke in her car in the 1980s, and how she taught them all the rules of poker and when to double-down in blackjack and how well she laughed, loved life and loved them. Many of them inherited her clothes, furniture, big hats, eclectic jewelry, silver hair and adventurous spirit. Grandma Shoda loved big and a long time, as her great-grandkids can also attest to, as they got to have her around for so much of their young lives, too.
After wielding a big rig was no longer feasible for Frances, she settled for a red convertible, roller blades and a snowbird trailer park in southern Texas near Padre Island in the winter months, heading to Idaho, California and Washington to spend summers divided at her daughters’ homes. Ever ready for a new adventure, she eventually spent her last years at a beloved senior apartment in Stanwood, Washington, near her oldest daughter Elizabeth where she loved playing cards with her friends and weekly trips to the beautiful nearby nursery and tearoom. Her final two years on Earth found her coming again full circle, making her way back to Weiser, this time to Indianhead Estates Residential Care near her youngest daughter Terri where she died at the age of 93 on Saturday April 29, 2023. In her life she was a cowgirl, a mom, a grandma, a mail carrier, an entrepreneur designing feathered hat bands and feathered high heels, a professional seamstress sewing items for Neiman Marcus, restauranteur, a great cook at home, a real estate agent reaching a million dollars in sales, cooked for an oil crew in Alaska, waitress, and even ran for Mayor once! Frances “Sugar” Shoda loved chocolate cake, the 1960 song Wheels by The String-A-Longs, playing dominoes, reading books in bed late into the night, Wheel of Fortune, and all of us, her family. And did we ever love her, too.
She wanted her cremains scattered by her daughters at a special spot in Oregon and no funeral but since we love a good party, her family will be gathering to celebrate her and disregard that final wish. (She’d understand and approve!)
Frances is preceded in death by both her parents, sister Marguerite, brother Joe Mack, and both husbands. She is survived by her brother Bud (Bruce), daughters Liz Chester of Washington, Barb Ross of Wyoming, Lou Norstebon and Terri Fritts of Idaho (along with sons-in-law Curt, Ted, Jim and Fritts) as well as grand-children Andy Bumgarner, Russ Bumgarner, Sara Lawson, Reed Bumgarner, Heather Pecht, Hillary Grigel, Amy Pence-Brown, Amber Pence, Garrett Pence, Andrea Williams and Lindsey Fritts, all their spouses, 33 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. Her family would like to thank Renee, the employees, and residents at Indianhead Estates for their loving care and friendship.