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Monday, April 15, 2024 at 8:24 AM

Obituary - Frances Elaine (Sanford) Atkinson

A Celebration of Life will be held on May 11 at 1:00 p.m. at the Churchill County Senior Center
Obituary - Frances Elaine (Sanford) Atkinson

Frances Elaine (Sanford) Atkinson, the self-proclaimed “Rose Lady of Fallon,” passed away following a short illness on March 22, 2024. Frances was born in Fallon on December 22, 1929, and was a lifelong Fallon resident.

The youngest of four children, she was born on her parents’ ranch on Sheckler Road. The family relocated to town a short time later, living in a house at the corner of Williams and Taylor, where her parents managed a cabin apartment complex called Big Chief Auto Court.

Frances attended public school throughout her educational years. She was quite gifted at singing, which she did in various venues as a child and young woman, even having a phonograph record made in her younger years. She was quite accomplished in her singing abilities and had aspirations of attending California's College of the Pacific to study classical music.

Her life took a different direction when she met and married Bill Sanford in February 1947. They went on to raise two sons, Tom and Joe, whom Frances called her "greatest legacy."

Frances was very outgoing and active. She owned and operated the Petal Pushers flower shop located on Williams Avenue for many years, worked as an admitting clerk at the Churchill Public Hospital on Taylor Street, was a well-known “Avon lady,” worked at the Frontier Pharmacy, and served as the lunch lady at the old Senior Center.

As a founding member of Fallon's Red Hat Society, she reigned as the Queen Diva in "The Lil Red Hens" and was always identified by her myriad of various brightly colored visors. She sang for many years with the Lahontan Valley Concert Choir and was a proud member of the Hoe and Hum Garden Club.

In her later years Frances married William Atkinson. Together they purchased a home where she planted and tended to her 112 prized rose bushes.

Frances loved Fallon and everyone in it. She lived a wonderful life and was blessed to have many dear friends and beloved family members. Frances is survived by her son Joe, her son-in-law Bill Dougherty, granddaughters Robyn (Gideon) Davis and Julie Sanford, great-grandchildren Caleb and Nina Davis, daughter-in-law Greta Atkinson, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Frances is preceded in death by her husband Bill Sanford, her oldest son Tom Sanford, her parents Sol and Hazel Springer, brother Melvin Springer, sisters Verla Hooper and Ruth Brown, her second husband Willie Atkinson, and stepson Bruce Atkinson.

At Frances’ request there will be no funeral. Instead, a Celebration of Life will be held on May 11 at 1:00 p.m. at the Churchill County Senior Center. For all who knew and loved Frances… come to hug each other, grieve together, and celebrate a most wonderful lady. She will be truly missed.

Many, many thanks to the entire staff and administration of the Homestead Assisted Living Community of Fallon for their wonderful care, friendship, and love; as well as Compassion Care Hospice who provided such wonderful care in the last days. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to The Homestead and Compassion Care Hospice.


April Smith 04/02/2024 08:50 PM
I love this beautiful woman and her family so much. Such a pure soul and I had a great pleasure taking care of her while she was at the homestead and being by her side for her last days

Comment author: Claude EzzellComment text: Paul was one of the most manifest men I have ever met. He was a good friends with my Dad and always had an entertaining story for the occasion. One of my most favorite stories Paul told dated back to the late 60s or early 70s and it revolved around him killing a deer way out in the mountains. Naturally the deer ran down into a deep canyon and died. Knowing that it would take him forever to haul it out he devised an awesome plan. After preparing the deer he drove back to NAS Fallon and rustled up a SAR crew and they flew out and picked up the deer. Of course it was labeled as a training flight but what the hell in those days you could do that sort of thing. Rest in Peace my friend until we meet again!!Comment publication date: 4/11/24, 1:15 PMComment source: Obituary - LCDR Paul N PflimlinComment author: THughesComment text: So sad to hear. Prayers to the Goings family.Comment publication date: 4/5/24, 6:35 PMComment source: Obituary - Bill GoingsComment author: April SmithComment text: I love this beautiful woman and her family so much. Such a pure soul and I had a great pleasure taking care of her while she was at the homestead and being by her side for her last daysComment publication date: 4/2/24, 8:50 PMComment source: Obituary - Frances Elaine (Sanford) Atkinson V Comment author: Veronica BrandenburgComment text: Dee was the nicest lady! I remember her fondly from the days of my youth at Northside Elementary, many years ago. She and Mrs. Rowe were my favorite office ladies! I am so sorry to hear of her passing. My thoughts are with her family.Comment publication date: 4/1/24, 3:26 PMComment source: Obituary - Mary Delda “Dee Hewitt