Elise Frank, age 97, of Belcourt, N.D., passed away on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at the Bottineau Hospital in Bottineau, N.D.
Elise Winifred Marion LaFromboise Frank was born July 6, 1915, in Medicine Lake, Mont., to Eli J. and Louisanne (Azure) Marion. When she was young she lived in Thorne, N.D., Moorhead, Minn., and Wahpeton, N.D. She attended high school in Wahpeton, N.D.; Flandreau Indian School, Flandreau, S.D.; and finished school at Central High in Fargo, N.D. Elise returned to Belcourt with family in 1930 and for two years would return to Fargo and live with her Aunt Mary Louise Marion LeBrun. She worked for the Turtle Mountain Day School as a librarian and substitute teacher.
In 1936 Elise worked as a commodity clerk and later took a position for the Turtle Mountain Agency and Rolette County as the first Native American social worker. She held this position until 1956, when she retired due to ill health.
Elise was married to Joe (Beef) LaFromboise on Jan. 23, 1935, and six children followed: Geraldine (Jack) Marcavage, Joseph (Roxie) LaFromboise, Richard Jiggers (Linda DuBois) LaFromboise, Madonna (Wayne) Seelhammer, Maria Jeanne (Lew) Hulett, and Gerald (Lois) Maggie LaFromboise.
As a native social worker, Elise proved that a concerned public servant can make a difference. With her dedication to helping people relocate for jobs in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, or many more locations in the United States, people from the Turtle Mountains had a chance to prosper in the American Dream. Elise instilled in her children a spiritual foundation along with service to country and family. Four of the six children served in the U.S. military. Call it coincidence, another Native social worker, Evadna Gillett, shared her son Austin and Tribal Chairman. Another coincidence, Jiggers and Austin served their people at the same time. Geraldine a teacher, Joe a probation and parole counselor, Madonna a successful Realtor, Maria a master crafter, artist, and free thinker, Gerald an educator and family trickster. Of course, we can’t forget her Baby Jocko, who lit her life in her older years.
Elise loved to travel and had lived in many places throughout the United States. She left North Dakota to travel to Montana, Florida, and Minnesota, and finally returned home to the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota to spend her last 30 years. With the many years of joys and blessing of her children she was given the gift of all her grandchildren which she shared much love; with grandchildren (26), great-grandchildren (50), and great-great-grandchildren (nine).
Elise never believed in taking medications, that you should be strong enough to tough it out. Her only medicine was a good cup of coffee with family and friends around the kitchen table. She enjoyed the last five years living life to its fullest with Kristi, Candis, Julie, and Brother. The antics of Kristi and Rhea brought her great laughter and much joy. She enjoyed intellectual conversations with Jair. She relished the quick card game and lunches with Jiggers. The weekly card games with Roy (Pickles) Counts. We just can’t forget those glorious trips to the casino. Her greatest pleasure was those who came to visit. She will be sadly missed.
All of the family knows Grandma Elise went straight to heaven with Father Mark’s apostolic blessing as she passed into the spiritual world. Elise left her family at 1:51 a.m. at Bottineau Hospital on Feb. 28, 2013.
A visitation will begin: At 6 p.m. today, March 5, 2013, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Belcourt, with a Rosary Service today at 8 p.m., also in the church.
Funeral Mass: Will be Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m. in the church, with Father Jeff Eppler and Father Mark Wheelan presiding.
Burial: Will be in St. Ann’s Catholic Cemetery, Belcourt, in the spring.
(Elick Funeral Home, Rolla)