Frances A. Barlow

July 1, 2014

By Contributor

On Prince Edward Island, on Aug. 24, 1918, Frances Anne Keegan was born to Francis Xavier and Helen Leona Keegan. Her father’s family were seafarers.

When Frances was 4 years old, her mother shepherded her seven daughters across the continent by train to Issaquah. There in the hills was the rich farmland that Helen’s pioneering family, Mercers and Vaughans, had homesteaded.

Frances Barlow

Frances Barlow

Helen and Frank settled their daughters on the farm, where they survived the Depression years by living off the land — from fruit trees and vegetables to chickens and cows. Helen sewed the girls’ clothing, oftentimes from pretty patterned cotton flour sacks.

Frances graduated from Issaquah High School, the class of 1935, one of 61 students. As her parents ran an egg farm, she had experience candling eggs, which she used to land a job at an egg co-op in Issaquah. Paul J. Barlow was her supervisor. Romance followed. They married in 1941, lived in a little paradise on the shores of Lake Sammamish and raised five children there.

In 1984, she moved to Whidbey Island, where she lived for 30 years, right on the Saratoga Passage. She loved her life there: creating a beautiful garden, walking the beach with her dogs, digging for clams, playing a ruthless game of Scrabble and hosting family gatherings, which went far into the night around beach campfires.

Only in her 90s did she move to an assisted-living home.

Everyone who knew Frances Barlow marveled over her strength of character, her canny understanding of people, and her absolute commitment to tell anyone and everyone exactly what she thought.

She passed away June 24, 2014 — the last of her sisters to pass on, the last of her generation. She will be sorely missed.

She is survived by four children, Alan Barlow, Paula Kerby (Billy), Glen Barlow (Glenda) and Anne Barlow; nine grandchildren, Megan McInnis, Erika Calderon, Anna Miaullis, Colin Meyer (Christie Robertson), Owen Meyer (Nicole Grant), Justine Winnie, Ian Barlow, Drew Barlow and Reid Barlow; and five great-grandchildren, Flynn and Lem Meyer, Calix and Coral Robertsonmeyer, and Angela Barlow. Numerous dear nieces and nephews will also remember her well.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 220 Mountain Park Blvd. N.W., Issaquah, Washington. A reception will follow.

Friends are invited to share memories and sign the family’s online guest book at

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