Baker City, Oregon

Frances Ritter, 68, of Baker City, died May 26, 2004, at her home in Baker City, after a short battle with cancer.

Her graveside funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Roger Scovil of the Baker Christian Church will officiate.

Her every need was lovingly provided on a 24-hour basis by her daughter, Ronda, with additional support from her daughter, Jennie. The family extends its gratitude to the hospice program for contributing to their mother’s well-being and for the tender care in providing for her comfort.

Frances Ann Bainter Ritter, named after both her grandmothers and called “Frankie” by her friends, was born March 13, 1936, at Salem. She was the third child and second daughter of John Glen Edward “Jack” Bainter and Jennie Amelia Pyper.

At age 3 she fell out of a car, seriously breaking her left leg, putting her in traction. Her life was saved during the accident by her beloved Uncle Arthur who grabbed her and pulled her back into the car.

She lived in rural west Salem and started school at Brush College grade school, then moved to Eola grade school, both two-room country schools. In the spring of 1943 the family moved to Baker City after a long car trip over “the scenic route.” A mattress was lost during the trip and more hours were spent retrieving the mattress.

Her sister, Ardis, came down with mumps on the trip. The children took turns with the mumps after their arrival at their new home at 1940 Clifford St. They missed several weeks of school.

Their father enlisted in the U.S. Army when they lived at 1729 Valley Ave. While living at 1350 Fifth St., they each had scarlet fever and were quarantined for six weeks.

After her father was killed in World War II, a railroad boxcar was moved to a lot at 485 Third South Baker. The family moved in, thus becoming real boxcar children.

Their Grandfather Bainter stayed with them the entire winter of 1945-46 to get them settled in. Frances and Ardis spent many hours helping their mother improve the boxcar into a house, pounding nails, sawing and painting. Glen learned to wire it for electricity. After a few years, indoor plumbing was installed.

Frances attended Brooklyn and Tiedemann grade schools, Baker Junior High and Baker High School. She was looking forward to her 50-year class reunion this summer.

She lived in Washington and California while her husband was in the U.S. Navy, but was always drawn back to Baker City. She was an artist and loved singing; she made each of her homes attractive with plants and decorations.

She loved gardening and had beautiful flowers. She and her son, Tom, became Master Gardeners, taking classes together and learning to graft. Frances had beautiful handwriting and always answered letters promptly.

Survivors include her children, Jonnie Tietz, Tom and Lou Ann Smith, Jerry and Denise Smith, Jennie and Ron Thomas, Ronda Irey, and Ted and Wendy Perkins; 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; two sisters, Ardis and Margie; two uncles; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Jennie; two brothers, Glen and Leo; grandson, Jason Tietz; and her beloved family dog, Tag.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Frances Ritter Memorial Fund through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, June 4, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor