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12/21/1921 — 09/24/2018
From Richland, WA | Born in Spokane, WA
Frances (Frankie) Belle Gay Knox was born in Spokane, WA, to Robert and Olga Gay, the youngest of four children. Her early years were spent in Harrington, WA, until the family moved to Prosser, WA, when her father purchased the Prosser Record Bulletin. Frankie spent many happy years growing up in Prosser, riding horseback, swimming, hiking in the Horse Heaven hills, and forming friendships that lasted all her life. She also developed into an accomplished one- and three-meter springboard diver and won several AAU championships throughout the Northwest.
When Frankie was a young child, her father gave her a small plot in his garden and taught her the fundamentals of gardening. From that time forward, Frankie grew a vegetable and flower garden, which in later years the family enjoyed immensely, particularly fresh tomatoes and cucumbers during the summer.
Frankie graduated from Prosser High School and attended Washington State College, graduating in 1943. Her parents had also graduated from WSC, and believed that a college education was essential for all of their children. She worked part-time while attending college and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
In the summer of 1943, Frankie worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency charged with obtaining the White Bluffs and the North Richland area for the Manhattan Project. This proved to be very interesting work, but she witnessed the sadness and heartbreak of the people who had to leave their farms and homes.
In October 1943, Frankie married Clint Knox, who had also grown up in Prosser and was her high school sweetheart. They lived in Portland, OR while Clint finished dental school and established his practice. In 1948, they moved to Richland, where they raised their five children.
Frankie enjoyed traveling with Clint while he played in tennis tournaments around the country. Frankie especially enjoyed their trip to Costa Rica, often reminiscing about the beauty of the country. Later in life Frankie traveled to Italy, China, Hawaii and several Elderhostel sites.
Frankie had many interests and was involved in several community activities. She was a long-time member of P.E.O. Chapter FX. She served as president of the Richland Bombers Booster Club, Tri-City Cougar Club, Tri-City Photography Club, and the American Field Service. She taught springboard diving for the Richland Swim Club and assisted with the swimmers as well. Frankie was a life member of the WSU Alumni, and in later years she became a member of the WSU President’s Associates, a group dedicated to raising funds for the university. She also served for several years as a Trustee, and in this capacity was a member of the Athletic Advisory Committee. Her father instilled a love of WSU football, and she watched the Cougs from the mid-1930’s when visiting her older sister on campus until she was no longer able to make the trips. In 2006, she was presented with the WSU outstanding service award.
Frankie was a generous person who welcomed everyone into her home. She was an excellent cook and hostess, and family and friends enjoyed many wonderful times in her home. She maintained a beautiful yard and garden, which enhanced the lovely gatherings on the patio during the warm weather. The view of the Columbia River from her home gave her much joy, as did the many family boating trips on the river for water-skiing and island picnics. Frankie’s family was the most important thing to her, and in her later years she was happiest preparing meals or baking her famous brownies for family get-togethers.
Frankie died peacefully, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, on September 24, 2018. She was 96 years old. She was preceded in death by her parents, her two brothers Robert and Richard, her sister June, and her husband Clint. She is survived by her five children Susan (Ron) Rogers, Ken (Katherine) Knox, Kathy Knox, Clinton Knox, Rob (Judy) Knox; grandchildren Brendt and Hsin-Neh Rogers, Derek (Kristy) Knox, Matt (Tara) Knox, Amy (Jared) Costilla, Jennifer (Mike) Knox, Ben (Davalyn) Knox, Kasey (Matt) Wilberding, Molly (Carlos) Knox, Jake (Helen) Knox; great-grandchildren Chyna Peeler, Belle Langstaff, Beau Langstaff, Wyatt Wilberding, Reece Wilberding, Henry Knox, Shay Knox; nephews David Forsyth and Todd Gay, and niece Janie Dodgen.
Memorial services will be arranged at a later date. Correspondence may be sent to (c/o Frances Knox) PMB 238, 1761 George Washington Way, Richland, WA, 99354.