Saturday, May 25, 2024

Frances Louise Draggoo


Frances Louise (Cathey) Draggoo, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother was born on December 27, 1923 in Priest River, Idaho. In the next 100 years she lived a full and happy life. The six members of the Cathey family (now all deceased) moved to Chelan in the early 1930s. During the Depression father Wilson Cathey labored in the fruit and lumber industries while his wife, Maude, was a homemaker raising four children; Oliver, Donise, Frances, and Lester. Doing odd jobs while growing up (babysitting, taking in laundry, delivering papers and collecting money from Spokesman Review subscribers) allowed the kids to help the family survive. An excellent student and outstanding singer and pianist, (she recorded an album at 18), Frances graduated from Chelan High school in 1942. In 1943 she worked at Boeing on B-17s as a ‘Rosie the Riveter’. The day before Mom died she and all other ‘Rosies’ were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal. Frances studied at Seattle Pacific College in 1944 and joined the Navy WAVES serving at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. On September 20, 1946 she married Eli Victor Draggoo in Chelan, Washington. Their dedicated partnership lasted 56 years until Vic’s passing in 2002.

Their union produced four children, each born in a different state. Eldest son , Tom, was born in Fort Monmouth, NJ, followed by Roy in Sacramento, CA, Jim in Chelan, WA, and Vicki in Albuquerque, NM. Dad retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force in 1962, at last settling the family in Chelan.
Mom’s transition to domestic life was smooth as she actively supported the musical/sports/drama and educational talents of her children. She shared her joy of music by teaching her children how to sing and harmonize, she loved fishing and camping with her family, she served for years as a counselor for the Methodist Youth Fellowship in Chelan, she enjoyed writing and sharing her poetry, pinochle parties, recurrent family reunions, and became interested in photography winning blue ribbons and cash prizes at many local fairs and contests. For decades her keyboard expertise and prolific song writing talent became a staple at weddings, funerals, and church services. She accompanied students in musical competitions and always loved playing for her family and friends. In her 80’s Frances became proficient with her cell phone. She mastered the art of recording herself singing and playing on the piano. These recordings were shared via text to dozens of friends and family on a daily basis. This skill allowed her to remain connected with everyone during the long period of Covid isolation. As her vision diminished she never gave up singing and recording her 30 second bits to text cheer, joy, and words of encouragement to others. Frances lived independently in her Chelan home until just before her 100th birthday.
After moving to Blossom Valley Assisted Living in Wenatchee she continued to share her kindness, love, and humor with the caring staff and residents often playing the piano in the lobby. She established many new friendships and treasured her time there. As a lasting tribute shortly before her death she received a Quilt of Valor honoring her military service. She was proud of her service to her country and accepted the quilt with sincere gratitude.

Her quiet “ I Can” attitude began at a very young age and continued throughout her life. She is survived by her four children, Tom (Teri Sue), Roy (Carol), Jim (Judy), Vicki (Dale) Hoffman, grandchildren Wyatt, Kevin, Brett, Matthew, David, Jenna, Elizabeth, Andrew, Christopher and 17 great grandchildren. Our heartfelt thanks to Blossom Valley and Hospice for their considerable care and loving attention to Mom’s safety, dignity, and spirit. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please consider giving to your favorite charity.