Floral 15

Frances "Franne" (Harrison) Dickinson

June 22, 1927 ~ October 7, 2021 (age 94)


     Frances Dickinson, neé Harrison, “Franne” to all who knew and loved her, 94, formerly of Ephraim, passed away Thursday morning, October 7, 2021 at Woodview (assisted living facility) of Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village in Sister Bay.

     She was born on June 22, 1927 in Chicago, IL to Robert Horace Harrison and Lois (Estes) Harrison. Franne's love affair with art began as a child in the halls and galleries of the Chicago Art Institute near her home. Franne graduated from South Shore High School in Chicago and went on to study American Literature at the University of Illinois where she earned her degree. There, she met Duane Norton Dickinson, and they were married on October 28, 1949, and moved to Elm Grove, WI. The pair shared a love of travel, and together, they took delightful trips across Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Mexico and South America, and throughout the United States

     Franne thoroughly enjoyed the art, theater, and dance scene in Milwaukee where she was involved in various arts organizations including The Milwaukee Repertory Theater (Friends of the Rep), ARTReach Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Art Museum's Friends of Art, and The Brookfield Players. She loved acting on stage and wrote a number of plays during those years. 

     Franne and Duane moved to Door County full-time in the early 90’s, and it was here that Franne’s lifelong love of art and painting found deep roots and began to grow in earnest. Over her years in Door County, she flourished as she learned from and taught a cache of wildly talented artists and kindred spirits who served as her best friends until the end.

     Franne danced, wrote, played, and painted through life with one foot on the ground and one in the clouds. Her spritely, effervescent spirit inspired many to do the same. Never one to meet a stranger, Franne always had time for lengthy, laughter-filled chats with everyone she met, whether on the “Toe Path” at her gallery/home in Ephraim, or in the aisles at the Piggly Wiggly in Sister Bay. She made scores of cherished friends throughout her life who became like family over lengthy dinner parties, art openings, and fabulous events. 

     Franne had a deep faith and loved attending church. She found peace and joy in uplifting sermons and soul-lifting hymns. In Elm Grove, she attended Elm Grove Methodist Church, and in Door County, Franne attended St. Paul Lutheran Church in Juddville, The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim, and then Ephraim Moravian Church in her later years. 

      Franne’s vibrant artwork is a large piece of her lasting legacy. She used acrylics, pastels, chalk, and watercolors – really anything that was wildly colorful. Over the last 40+ years, she painted with near constant inspiration, called to sketch or paint every bloom, pose, or scape that caught her artist’s eye. Franne followed her muse in all things – her artwork, her style, her home, her writing – all reflected her unique way of embracing and absorbing the joy and vibrancy in her world. Some of her work will be added to the permanent collection at the (Gerhard) Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay, a few pieces will be available for auction to benefit Write On, Door County, and her remaining works have been shared with family and friends for display in their homes and businesses. 

     The remaining legacy she leaves is within each of us who were lucky enough to know her. Franne reminded us to live elegantly - to use the fine china, take the trip, use the good paint, to do the small and grand things that bring beauty and joy to your life. Her love of people, kindness, and outreach touched everyone she met.

     From her memoir, “Stay at the Party Long (and Play In the Arts)”, she said, “I just want my paintings to have ‘Minaudiere’ – defined as a “’coquettish air” that will invite the viewer to come close enough that I might say, “Shall we dance?” She succeeded in that, not only in her art, but in her life, and we are exceedingly blessed to have gotten that dance.

     Franne will be missed by her beloved children, Jeffrey (Kathy) Dickinson of River Hills, Jane Lee of Ellison Bay, and Kent (Kine) Dickinson of Atlanta, GA; treasured grandchildren Jennifer Lee (Christopher) Davis, and Alix Dickinson and Erik Dickinson; her much-adored great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Davis; other relatives; and friends.

     She was preceded in death by her parents; dear husband, Duane; brothers, Donald Harrison and Robert (Jean) Harrison; and other relatives.    

     Friends are welcome to gather with Franne’s family in celebration of her life at Alexander’s, 3667 State Highway 42, Fish Creek, WI 54212 on Monday, November 15, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. with sharing of memories to begin at 5:30 p.m.

     In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Door County Secret Santa (www.facebook.com/doorcountysecretsanta); The Francis Hardy Center for the Arts (P.O. Box 394, Ephraim, WI 54211 OR thehardy.org); or the Peninsula School of Art (P.O. Box 304, Fish Creek, WI 54212 OR peninsulaschoolofart.org); or Write On, Door County (4210 Juddville Rd., Fish Creek, WI 54212 OR writeondorcounty.org)

     “Our family would like to extend a special thanks to Jennifer Berns, Kari Brandt, Kevin Free, Laverne Cordon, and the staff of Woodview (Scandia Village) for the wonderful care given to our mother these past years and also to the Unity Hospice staff for your kind and compassionate care.”

     Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Dickinson family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Franne may be shared with her family through her tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.




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Celebration of Life (gathering)
November 15, 2021

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Alexander's of Door County
3667 State Highway 42
Fish Creek, WI 54212


Door County Secret Santa
Sturgeon Bay WI
Web: http://www.facebook.com/doorcountysecretsanta

The Francis Hardy Center for the Arts
P.O. Box 394, Ephraim WI 54211
Web: http://thehardy.org

Peninsula School of Art
3900 County Road F, Fish Creek WI 54212
Tel: 1-920-868-3455
Web: http://www.peninsulaschoolofart.org

Write On, Door County
P.O. Box 457, Fish Creek WI 54212
Tel: 1-920-868-1457
Web: https://writeondoorcounty.org/donate

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