Fran Van Cleave

October 24, 2021


Fran Estlle Sterling-Van Cleave was born on June 29, 1937 in  Wall Walla, Washington.  She passed away of natural causes and peacefully to her rest on October 24, 2021, surrounded by loving family members.  Fran was raised on Tollgate Mountain, near Weston, Oregon, until the age of 7.  Her family settled in the Mt. Vernon area and soon moved to a ranch near Seneca.  Fran spent several summers camping with her parents, Steve and Elsie (Klone) Miller at the Wolf Creek Fire Lookout, which she loved!
Fran once rode her bicycle from Seneca to John Day just to do it and be able to say, "I did that!".  While she would move around during her life, Fran always returned to the Seneca/John Day/Burns cities because this was her home.  Fran enjoyed crocheting beautiful afghan blankets for friends and family members, and she excelled in embroidery needlepoint.  She enjoyed working with her hands and loved to quilt and sew as well.  She was an avid reader and had a wonderful book collection.  Fran loved both writing and hearing poetry, and she was crazy about anything frog - collecting hundreds of them throughout her lifetime.  Frog salt & pepper shakers, frog towels, frog knick knacks and anything that might have a cute frog on it.  People knew this and willingly brought her frog things from all over to add to her collection.
She loved to travel, but would always come back to this area where she mad many friends and she regularly visited her parents.  In 2016 Fran visited the Steen's Mountain for the very first time and she was unsure what to think about the wide expanse of the mountain and all the juniper trees.
Previously married and divorced, she and her longtime lover and companion, Claude James Sterling, on her birthday in 2017, exchanged their vows of love to one another before God and under the sky at Soda Flats.  They were inseparable from that time until death.
Fran had two children: Del-Mar Crawford who passed away in 2004, and Brice Annette McAllister of Colorado.  She had three grandchildren (Michael, Steven and Danielle), great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was particularly close to two cousins from Pendleton.  Marilynn Colcord and Willetta Powell, who were blessed to be with her when she passed away.  Fran also loved animals and her longtime 4-legged friends: Mollie (long haired dachshund that is 17 years old) and 3 cats - Muffin, One Son and Two Son who were also there with her.
Fran was a long time member of the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association, and she was a CB'er back in the day they were popular, and she was one of the women that made up the Buckaroos.  Fran was also a baptized, long-time member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and she loved Jesus Christ, whom she plans to see again, when He comes to take her home.
Fran is survived by her spouse, Claude Sterling, her daughter Brice McAllister, her sister, Maxine Adams of Yakima, Washington. Fran now rests in the Drewsey Cemetery, along with her parents and her son Del-Mar.  At her request, no services were held.  Memorial contributions can be made to your local Humane Society or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals..

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