Obituary of Frances Caven
Frances, “Fran,” Caven passed away peacefully on April 18, 2021, joining her beloved husband, James Douglas Caven, in heaven.
Fran was born January 25 in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Cornelius Plug and Johanna (Bartels) Plug. Fran had three wonderful older siblings: Adrian (Bob), Marie (Groenendal), and Carl, all of whom predeceased her.
When Fran was only four years old, her mother lost a courageous battle with cancer in January of 1929. With the onset of the Depression, Fran’s family moved many times within the greater Chicago area. Fran’s father and her brothers acquired greenhouses and eventually a successful floral and gift shop. By the time Fran graduated from high school at the age of 16, she had attended eight different schools. Fran kept news of the family moves from school administrators, forcing her to take public transportation and walk great distances to avoid the disruption of changing schools. Fran was an honor student, and despite her many moves, she was involved in plays, excelled on the debate team, and with a beautiful singing voice participated in several vocal ensembles. After graduating from high school in 1941, Fran attended secretarial school for two years before becoming a secretary for the Chicago Steel Company. She also legally added an “e” to the end of her name so that people could pronounce ‘Pluge’ correctly!
The Caven family has always cherished the romantic tale of how Fran and Doug Caven met so many years ago! The story goes that Mrs. Lauren Drake III, the wife of Fran’s boss, was on the board of the Chicago Servicemen’s Center, which provided refreshments, games, tickets for local events, and dancing with live entertainment for men and women in the armed services. Convinced by her boss that she should volunteer time at the Center, Fran was on her way to an interview with Mrs. Drake, when voices behind her were discussing how charming Fran looked! She turned to see three smiling sailors hoping to meet her - one being the handsome Doug Caven. She smiled and went on to her interview. Weeks later, Fran was getting a portrait done as a gift for her father when she encountered that handsome sailor again. This time Doug asked Fran for her phone number. Being cautious, she gave him a wrong number! But as fate would have it, Fran was volunteering at the Servicemen’s Center and had been cajoled into dancing with a young serviceman. Much to her protests, Fran didn’t know how to dance, as it wasn’t encouraged by her religion. After one turn on the dance floor, she spied Doug standing along the sidelines and just left the poor soldier she was dancing with and sought refuge next to Doug. Although happy to see her, Doug chided Fran about her lack of dancing knowledge and proceeded to take her upstairs to teach her how to dance! Fran also confessed to Doug she had given him a wrong number! They continued to meet at the Servicemen’s Center and in other public locations until the Navy transferred Doug to Bainbridge, Maryland. It was at this point that Fran was introduced to Doug’s playful sense of humor when he wrote Fran a letter, telling her that he had met a very pretty, shy blonde on the train. He said she was very shy, but he was persistent and soon had her sitting on his lap. By this time, Fran thought she was hearing the last from her charming sailor, but at the bottom of the letter Doug had written, “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the cute little blonde is three years old!”
After continuing correspondence with Doug and deepening their relationship, Fran bought a round trip ticket to Reno, Nevada, to meet Doug’s parents at Christmas time that year. She never used the return portion. Fran married Doug Caven at his parent’s home on December 26, 1943, and honeymooned in San Francisco, staying at the beautiful St. Francis Hotel.
By the end of the war, Fran and Doug settled in Eugene, Oregon. After a brief move to Klamath Falls, Fran and Doug built their forever home back in Eugene. Fran loved being an at home mother raising four children. Fran kept active as a Camp Fire Girl’s leader, a member of the Eugene Reactive Club (President), and as an active member in the Presbyterian Church. She was an amazing seamstress, making clothes for her children, and in later years, using her sewing talents to just look at a dress in a department store and go home, make her own pattern, and reproduce it!
It is no wonder, with her family’s love of plants and flowers, that Fran had beautiful flower gardens. Her grandchildren will attest to the importance of deadheading the marigolds to encourage new blooms! Later in life, Fran became an accomplished watercolorist, painting beautiful flowers from her gardens, and eventually from her travels to California and Hawaii.
One of the highlights of Fran’s life was her 50 plus years of enduring friendship with her wonderful neighbors called the “Tandy Turn Girls.” Through daily walks, weekly teas, book exchanges, and various neighborly dinners and birthday celebrations, the Tandy Turn Girls supported each other with love, kindness, humor and fun! Even when Fran moved to Sheldon Oaks, a mile away, she interacted with cherished friends regularly until the last few months of her life.
Fran and Doug loved their retirement years. They fell in love with Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and Ojai, California, spending two months each fall where Doug golfed and Fran painted, and they socialized with friends in the area. After one trip to Hawaii in the spring, Fran and Doug decided they would also spend a couple months in Hawaii every year between Napili Bay and Kapalua Resort and Golf Course.
After 57 wonderful years of marriage, with Doug’s passing in 2000, Fran moved to Sheldon Oaks Retirement Community, where she built a life on her own, making new friends and enjoying new pursuits. Fran was an avid bean bag baseball fan, and as those who knew her would tell you, she took her ‘game’ very seriously! She loved to dress up, and every Halloween, Fran won the Best Costume award! She always loved sports and was delighted to attend many University of Oregon football games, sitting with friends in the donor section. Watching U of O men and women basketball games with son, Doug, was also one of the highlights of her long life!
Needing more assistance, Fran moved to Waterford Grand Assisted Living in September of 2019. Fran made so many dear friends in her lifetime. She also cherished her family, and she was regularly treated to beautiful flower bouquets from her children and grandchildren as well as her special nephews, Bruce, Dale, and Ron Groenendal! Fran lived a full life, and she will be deeply missed!
Surviving family members include Fran’s children: Judi Sterling (Dale), Sharon Stanfield, (Thomas), Cathleen Hulse (Jack), and Douglas Caven (Jane) and grandchildren: Issa Sandgathe, Miles Sandgathe, Arri Harvey, Kristine Ferguson, Mike Hulse, Mike Caven, Sarah Allen, Melissa Caven, and great grandchildren: Tyler Lager, Colton Lager, Taylor Ferguson, Brooke Ferguson, Jacob Jackson, Adrian Caven, Cayden Allen, Brooklyn Allen.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Waterford Grand and Signature Hospice Care for their compassionate care for mother the past few months of her life. In lieu of flowers, Fran has asked that donations be made to Jasper Mountain Center: 37875 Jasper Lowell Rd., Jasper, OR 97438. 541-747-1235. Arrangements entrusted to Musgrove Family Mortuary. A private Celebration of Life will be held by family members at a later date.
Arrangements entrusted to Musgrove Family Mortuary. Please access the obituary and you are invited to sign the guestbook at musgroves.com.