Mary Case French, 94, of Port Angeles was welcomed into heaven Thursday, February 11, 2021. She died peacefully at home with family.
Mary Gertrude Case was born on April 21, 1926 in Sumner, Illinois to Dr. Carl McDowell Case and Clara Gertrude Case, the last of eight children. Her father was the town veterinarian and Mary had a very happy childhood growing up on the 80 acre family farm. After attending a one-room school for grades 1-8, Mary went on to graduate from Sumner High School in 1944. After graduation she attended the Springfield Illinois School of Beauty Culture, earning her diploma the next March. She returned to Sumner to work in her sister Catherine's beauty salon. In 1948 she relocated to Port Angeles, Washington to live with her older brother Forrest and his wife Lynn while helping with their children. Mary took a job as a clerk at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, where she met Richard (Dick) LeRoy French at a USO dance. Dick, from Elmira, New York was in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Worden. They were married on June 24, 1950 in the Fort Worden Chapel and honeymooned in Vancouver B.C. The day after their wedding, the United States entered the war in Korea. Mary watched as Dick was shipped to Korea from the dock at Fort Worden on August 3, 1950, less than six weeks after their wedding. She remembered the military band playing an Eileen Barton song, "If I'd Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake". Mary returned to Illinois to stay with her family while awaiting Dick's return from the war. Their oldest son, Richard Lewis, was born on April 1, 1951 while Dick was in Korea. After Dick was discharged from the Army in March 1952, they moved to Port Angeles where they added five more children to complete their family. Mary was a Republican Precinct Committee Chairperson, she served as an election poll worker, and she worked part-time positions at Port Angeles Evening News and Peninsula Daily News. She also served as the Treasurer of Calvary Baptist Church for over 25 years before she and Dick joined Grace Baptist Church. She was a member of the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club in Sequim.
Mary was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Mary was especially close to her sister Catherine of Sumner, Illinois, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Mary was a great cook with her signature dish being spaghetti and meatballs. She was an exceptional seamstress making clothes, afghans, cross-stitch projects and quilts for her family, and her legacy will live on through the many beautiful quilts and handcrafted creations she has provided for her family with love.
In December of 2015, Dick was called home to be with the Lord after 65 years of marriage. Mary was blessed with another 5 years and is survived by her children, Richard (Dawn) of Port Angeles, Raymond of Santa Barbara, California, Kelly (Celeste) of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kevin of Port Angeles, Vicki (Doug) Button of Burnsville, Minnesota, and Vonda of Port Angeles, ten grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren and one sister, Catherine LeGout of Sumner, Illinois. Mary was preceded in death by her husband Dick, her parents, and six siblings (Paul, Forrest, Daisy, Naurine, Genevieve and John).
A private burial was held and a Memorial Service will be planned at a later date.
The family would like to express our appreciation and thankfulness to all those who cared for Mary, especially Park View Villas and Assured Hospice.
Published in Peninsula Daily News on Feb. 21, 2021.