Frances Carlson Frojen Flynn, 91, of Fargo, formerly of the Finley-Sharon area, died in her home December 20, 2017, in the care of her family, supported by Hospice of the Red River Valley.
Frances was born August 15, 1926, in rural Traill County, North Dakota, to Oscar and Florence (Domier) Carlson. Her early years were spent in Finley. Her mother was widowed in 1930 and worked for a few years as Steele County Treasurer before marrying widower J. Arthur Engen. They moved to Golden Lake Township, where Frances attended rural school, walked the fields, pitched bundles of grain during harvest, and worked in the family garden. She fondly remembered community potlucks and dances at the Golden Lake Township School.
Frances attended Finley High School and graduated in 1944. She attended Mayville State College for a few semesters and especially enjoyed her dance classes, where the teacher singled her out and told her she should consider going to New York.
In 1946 Frances married Konrad Frojen of Finley. He was drafted and sent to Ft. Carson, Colorado, where their first child was born. In 1947 they returned to rural Sharon and began farming, winning several conservation awards for their innovations. Frances and Konrad had four children: Dana (Mary Gay); Joel (Cindy); Marcy (Mike Dronen); and Reid (Rhonda).
After Konrad's death in 1966, Frances ran the family farm with the help of her sons and a hired man. She was a savvy manager who remembered the exact price of her soybeans in the fall of 2017, even as other information and memories eluded her. In the late 1960s Frances became a bookkeeper at Finley Farmers Elevator. Responsible for writing all the grain checks, she was able to keep all the customers' "splits" straight in her head.
Frances met Charles Flynn, an Irish bachelor from Eckelson, at a Democratic Party caucus in Cooperstown. They courted across the miles until their marriage in October of 1974. Although they lived at the Sharon farm, Charles kept his farming and cattle interests near Valley City and bought and sold Christmas trees and melons. Frances continued her farm management and bookkeeping. They enjoyed a lively social life and attended many dances at the Knights of Columbus, the Valley City Elks, and the Finley American Legion.
In winters they enjoyed trips to cattlemen's conventions. In 1991, Frances and Charles took a cruise along the east coast of South America on Ivaran freighter M/V Santa Fe. They became friends with the international crew. After Charles's death in 1992, Frances took several more freighter trips alone; cruised along the west coast of Norway on the Hurtigruten ferry; and was a passenger on the Orient Express train across Europe.
These trips led to several special friendships and correspondence that lasted until the end of her life. Her 1998 book about her travels, Send Me a Postcard, displays her unique writing style and sense of adventure.
In Steele County, Frances was a member of Ostervold Lutheran Church, where she taught Sunday School. She was active in Eastern Star and several school and community groups. After her move to Fargo in 1993, she was a member of the Fine Arts Club.
Frances loved reading, music, history, and spirited conversation about current events. She had a heart for the underdog and overlooked person. She enjoyed a little flirtation. She made the best scalloped potatoes and baked beans with side pork. She was proud of all the Frojen and Flynn families -- including grandchildren Rachel Parrinello, Sonia Frojen, Michelle Barstad, Ashley Olson, James Frojen, and Laura Dronen; and great-grandchildren Nathan Parrinello, Hailey Olson, and Emily Olson.
Frances's son Reid and her husbands Konrad and Charles preceded her in death; as did all her siblings: Lincoln Engen, Oscar Carlson, Marjorie Huso, Gladys Alphild Speer, Judy Henrickson Sorlien, and Marcella Clemens.
A Fargo celebration of life for Frances Flynn will be Thursday, January 18, 2018, from 5 to 7 pm at El Zagal Shrine, 1429 3rd Street North.
A second celebration in Steele County will be Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 11 am at the Finley American Legion Hall.
Private burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Sanborn, ND.
Memorials are suggested to Hospice of the Red River Valley, 1701 38th St. S., Fargo ND 58103; Ostervold Lutheran Church, PO Box 87, Finley ND 58230; or Sacred Heart Cemetery, PO Box 35, Sanborn ND 58480.