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Obituary: Franne Dickinson, neé Harrison

June 22nd, 1927

Franne Dickinson, neé Harrison, was born on June 22nd, 1927 in Chicago, IL to Lois (Estes) and Robert Harrison. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, brothers Donald Harrison and Robert Harrison (Jean), and her dear husband, Duane Dickinson.

She is survived by her beloved children, Jeff (Kathy) Dickinson, Jane Lee, and Kent (Kine) Dickinson, treasured grandchildren Jennifer Lee (Christopher) Davis, Alix Dickinson, Erik Dickinson, and her much adored great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Davis. 

Franne’s love affair with art began as a child in the halls and galleries of the Chicago Art Institute near her home. She later was involved in the art, theater, and dance scene in Milwaukee where she lived with her husband, fellow Illini alum, Duane Dickinson. They moved to Door County full time in the early 90’s, and it was here that her lifelong love of art and painting found deep roots and began to grow in earnest.  Over her years in Door County, she flourished as she learned from and taught a cache of wildly talented artists and kindred spirits who served as her best friends until the end. 

Franne danced, wrote, played, and painted through life with one foot on the ground and one in the clouds. Her spritely, effervescent spirit inspired many to do the same. Never one to meet a stranger, she always had time for lengthy, laughter-filled chats with everyone she met, whether on the “Toe Path” at her gallery/home in Ephraim, or in the aisles at the Piggly Wiggly. She made scores of cherished friends throughout her life who became like family over lengthy dinner parties, art openings, and fabulous events.

Franne’s vibrant artwork is a large piece of her lasting legacy. Over the last 40+ years, she painted with near constant inspiration, called to sketch or paint every bloom, pose, or scape that caught her artist’s eye. She followed her muse in all things – her artwork, her style, her home, her writing – all reflected her unique way of embracing and absorbing the joy and vibrancy in her world. 

The remaining legacy she leaves is within each of us who were lucky enough to know her. She reminded us to live elegantly. To use the fine china, take the trip, use the good paint, to do the small and grand things that bring beauty and joy to your life.

From her book, “Stay at the Party Long (and Play In the Arts)”, she said, “I just want my paintings to have ‘Minaudiere’ – defined as a “’coquettish air” that will invite the viewer to come close enough that I might say, “Shall we dance?” She succeeded in that, not only in her art, but in her life, and we are exceedingly blessed to have gotten that dance. 

A celebration of Franne’s life will be held at Alexander’s in Fish Creek on Monday, November 15th from 4 – 8 pm