Rebecca Jane Cooper-Franz-Rice passed away on Jan. 8. 2021, at the age of 99. Jane was born June 15, 1921, to A.B. and Pearl Cooper. She was the seventh born out of eight children. Jane grew up in Hood River, Ore., where she attended first through 12th grades at various schools.
Shortly after high school, she married Fritz Franz and raised their three children, Susan, Randy, and Gary, where they had a dairy farm in the Westside district of Hood River. After selling the cows off, Fritz and Jane took up catering and stayed busy cooking for others.
Her passion in life was cooking. When her children were growing up, she fed the neighborhood children with all kinds of treats. Once her children had grown some, she started cooking at Oak Grove School, where her love of feeding the kids grew. She cared for those who couldn’t afford a hot meal. She would let them trade something from their sack lunch for a hot dish. When Westside Elementary School was built and opened, she was transferred to cook in the kitchen there. The love of children continued to show, still trading items form a sack lunch as well as teaching kids how to make taffy. She worked at Westside for 17 years before retiring. Even during retirement, she never gave up her love for cooking. She was always baking cinnamon rolls to take wherever she went. That includes the car dealership where she had her car serviced. They always looked in the back seat for their cinnamon rolls.
She loved people and opened her home to anyone needing a place to stay, making everyone feel like family. She loved making people laugh, which brought her to dance in a tutu for one of the first Lions Follies, in Hood River. Now, imagine a heavy-set woman dancing across the stage, in a tutu, doing her version of ballet. She had the crowd roaring. She was well-known for her “Dear Me” column in the Hood River News, keeping everyone interested updated on what was going with family, friends and the neighborhood. For some time, she shared recipes on the local radio station, and there she got the name “Buttercup” because 90 percent of her recipes started with a cup of butter. She loved to travel and did so with anyone she could get to travel with her. She loved her family!
Later in her years, she married Howard Rice and they resided in The Dalles. Following their love for God, they became very much involved in a couple of churches, helping in any way they could. Howard and Jane adopted a portion of the old highway and volunteered to do roadside clean-up along that portion, cleaning up tons of tires as well as garbage. They also bought a couple antique cars and enjoyed driving them around town.
She is preceded in death by her parents, A.B. and Pearl Cooper; husbands Fritz and Howard; brothers Ross, Bud and Jack; sisters Audrey, Louise, and twins Margaret and May; nephew Jerry; and niece Dorothy.
She is survived by daughter and son-in-law Susan and Bob, grandsons Paul and James, and great-grandchildren Richard and Olivia; son and daughter-in-law Randy and Joanne, grandchildren Hiedi and Luke and great-grandchildren Joshua and Jake; son and daughter-in-law Gary and Bonnie, grandchildren Justin and Aireanne, and great-grandchildren Alex and Poppy; as well as a number of nieces and nephews and their children. She is also survived by nine stepchildren, Steve, Norm, Pat, Tim, Ken, Chris, Carolyn, Katie and Sharon. She will be dearly missed by us all!
The family would like to thank The Springs at Mill Creek and Heart of Hospice for their care and compassion they showed toward Jane.
At her request, there will be no service.