Every month we’re profiling one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Francis Fredrickson!

Francis Fredrickson has been a familiar face at the South Salem Senior Center for more than 20 years.

Francis was born on the Sterling Cattle Ranch where she was raised with her brother and sister. Her father, though crippled, worked to acquire their ranch property as is the land came available. His goal of building the ranch is an enduring legacy since Sterling Cattle Ranch is 99 years old, continuing to operate successfully to this day.

Francis went to boarding school in Thompson Falls until the second World War. At that point, all travel was stopped except for military travel. This meant change: she and her sister began attending boarding school in Great Falls returning to the ranch on weekends to help with work.

The sisters mainly focused on farming the 1/4 acre vegetable garden where any of the townspeople from the small town of Craig could come to get fresh food.

After graduating from Great Falls High School, Francis attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. While there, she met her future husband Chuck Fredrickson on a blind date. They were introduced to by a friend. And it was the ONLY blind date Francis ever went on!

Once Chuck’s military stint ended, Francis and her husband moved to Helena, then to Salem. Chuck worked for the highway department where work promotions meant the family had to move often. They lived in several different parts of the state.

Because of the frequent moves, the family learned school’s curriculum varied from district to district. That meant the Fredrickson children were schooled at home in several subjects Despite so many relocations, the family was very active in scouting, sports and music. As a high schooler, Francis played the clarinet (pictured below).

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