Carl Frances Coons Juris

January 21, 2018

Frances Juris, a resident of Prineville since 1940, died Jan. 21, 2018, at her home. She was 100 years of age.

After private interment, a Memorial Service will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (695 NW 3rd St, Prineville, OR 97754) at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27.

Carl Frances Coons was born June 5, 1917, in Sugarland, Texas, the eldest daughter of Charles F. and Edna (Reames) Coons.

In 1925, she moved to Klamath County, Oregon, from Glenmora, Louisiana, with her parents and twin sisters. From 1935 to 1958, she was married to Lawrence E. Juris. In 1940, they moved to Prineville, and she went to work in the office of Ochoco Lumber Company, where she was their first woman employee. She was the last surviving member of the Ochoco Lumber Company crew during that year.

In 1951, she was appointed the recorder/treasurer for the City of Prineville, becoming the first and only woman to hold that position from 1880 to 2008, according to city records. At that time, the city hall was located in an old Army Air Force barracks building on the site where a modern city hall was constructed in 1956. The building is now occupied by the Prineville Police Department.

After retirement in 1969, she returned to Ochoco Lumber Company, wrote feature stories for the Bend Bulletin, and worked as a self-employed income tax consultant and bookkeeper, from which she retired in 1991.

Frances was active in community and civic affairs. She was a life member and past president of Soroptimist International of Prineville, a charter and life member of the Crook County Historical Society, and vice president of the Crook County Genealogical Society. She also served as president of the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Auxiliary when the hospital opened in 1950 and subsequently served for several years as secretary to the hospital’s board of directors.

Frances’ exhaustive knowledge of local history is what many will remember her for. This interest – which became her passion – was first kindled when she came across a cardboard box full of old records while working as city recorder. Her professional dealings with the City of Prineville Railway further piqued her curiosity.

Working for the City allowed her to meet the very people who lived the history Frances was interested in. Her knowledge grew as she became friends with such historical personalities as Warren Glaze, Billy King, Hannes Brummer, Lake Bechtell, Dora Templeton, Asa Battles and others. Her ownership of the Mac Cornett home in 1965 led to further opportunities to enrich her historical expertise.

A natural consequence was that she wrote many books dealing with the early history of Crook County, most notably “Rails to the Ochoco Country” in 1968 with John Due, and “Old Crook County – The Heart of Oregon” in 1975. In 2016, Frances completed her autobiography, titled “Looking Back from 99 Years.”

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Jeff L. and Margaret Juris, her beloved granddaughter, Kristina Juris, grandsons, James Juris, and Charles Juris, granddaughter, Lisa-Marie Juris, and niece Sandy Drace, nephews, Chuck Michel, Carl Sheehy, and many great nieces and nephews and one great-granddaughter.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Camille Northcutt and Elaine Thompson; and great-nephew Kenneth Tate Smith.

Memorials may be made to the Crook County Historical Society.

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