Frances Elaine Hart, a 64-year resident of Three Rivers, died peacefully Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, at her home. She was 91.
Elaine was born October 20, 1923, in Mesa, Ariz., to Talma Galen Clark and Freda Ines Clark. She was raised in Los Angeles and then Exeter, where she graduated from Exeter High School in 1941. She attended College of the Sequoias before moving to Los Angeles to attend nursing school. In 1946, Elaine became a registered nurse.
While living in L.A., Elaine’s spirit of adventure would take her alpine skiing at Big Bear Ski Resort, plus she learned to fly an airplane. She soloed on November 20, 1945.
Because of Elaine’s patriotic spirit and love for her country, she supported the war effort. During the latter part of World War II, she was a “Rosie the Riveter,” helping to build military planes in the Los Angeles area.
Elaine married William Eugene Hart on May 20, 1947. In 1951, the couple moved to Three Rivers, where they raised their three sons, Ken, Gary, and Bruce.
Elaine worked as an R.N. at Exeter Memorial Hospital during the 1950s and early ‘60s.
Elaine was a wonderful cook and seamstress. She always made sure that there were healthy meals on the table for her growing boys. Her love for sewing was evident by the clothes she would make for her family as well as herself. Organization was a must for Elaine, and it was proven by how tidy her home always was.
Her love for the mountains and skiing was passed on to Gary and Bruce. She would regularly drive them to Wolverton Ski Area in Sequoia National Park so they could also enjoy the sport. It was her passion for the outdoors that instilled a love and respect for the wilderness into her sons.
As a youth, Elaine joined the Order of the Rainbow for Girls; as an adult, she was a member of the Three Rivers Lady Lions as well as the Red Hat Society. Elaine was also a member of Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers and, for several years, sang in the choir.
While her three sons were attending Woodlake High School she was involved in the Boosters Club, attending all of their football games and cheering them on. She encouraged her sons to be athletically active, constantly reinforcing that an active body makes for an active mind.
In 1993, her husband, Bill, retired, and they decided that RVing would be the next chapter in their lives. During the next decade, they traveled over 100,000 miles, visiting all parts of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Much of their travels were with dear friends from Three Rivers.
Elaine will be remembered as a woman with passion, endless ambition, and a warm and sincere smile that was always followed by a laugh that would come from her heart.
Much gratitude goes to Fe Taylor and Virpi Takala for the caring and loving commitment they gave to Elaine as caregivers during her last two-and-a-half years of life. A thank-you is also extended to Optimal Hospice Care for the professional care during the last month of Elaine’s life.
Elaine was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, William Eugene Hart (1926-2012) and her sons, Kenneth William Hart (1948-2007) and Gary Eugene Hart (1949-2013).
She is survived by her son, Bruce Hart, and wife Joan of Durham, Calif., and three grandchildren, Elena, Madalyn, and John Hart.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Elaine’s name to a charity of the donor’s choice. A celebration of her life will be held on a later date.