On Nov. 20, 2013, Frances Fritcher-Nupen passed away peacefully in Fallon, Nev. Frances was born on March 4, 1938 in Detroit, Mich. to Anna (Doran) and Giovanni Ruffino. She had a younger sister Virginia (Ruffino) Bailey and two older brothers, John Ruffino and Jim Ruffino, all of whom proceeded her in death.
At the age of 18, Frances moved form Detroit, with her newborn son, Paul, to Gardena, Calif. She lived with her aunt, Lee, and uncle, Leo. During this time she became acquainted with one of her uncle’s younger coworker, Joseph Fritcher, who was a shipwright (boat maker) in Redondo Beach. In 1958 Joe and Frances were married and two years later they had a second son, Ronald.
A short time afterwards, the family moved to Lone Pine, where they bought a Frosty & Trailer Park on the north side of town. They named it The Swiss Chalet. The business struggled and was eventually sold. The family then moved to Independence, where Joe hired on with the Department of Water and Power. They next moved to Haiwee Reservoir where Joe got the position of reservoir caretaker for the L.A. Aqueduct system. In the nearby town of Olancha, Frances worked as a waitress at the Ranch House Café and later as a teacher’s aide at the Olancha School. In 1992, Joe proceeded Frances in death.
Frances remarried Gary Nupen, who worked at the Crystal Geyser bottling plant. They enjoyed all the activities that the Owens Valley and High Sierra had to offer. They explored back roads into the mountains and canyons. Together they compiled a large collection of wild flower photography and they also enjoyed bird watching and fishing. Frances was very active with her grandchildren, Jessica, Eric and Rachelle, as they lived nearby in Ridgecrest. There was no greater joy in Frances’s life than her sons and grandchildren. Her household was always completed with a family dog and two cats, as she loved animals.
With the onset of health issues and Alzheimer’s, it became necessary for Frances to move to Fallon, where she was closer to her sons, Paul and Ron, who also live there. Frances resided at The Homestead, and still enjoyed the outdoor beauty of Nevada with visits to Lahontan Reservoir, Grimes Point and points of interest along the historic Pony Express trail. The most enjoyable outings for her, were the visits to Wal-Mart where she would be driven around in the electrical carts by her 6-year-old great-granddaughter, Tanayah. It was as funny as watching a Laurel and Hardy movie. They loved each others’ company and spent a lot of time together.
Frances is survived by her sons, Paul Fritcher and wife Athena, Ron Fritcher and wife Amber; also her five grandchildren, Ricky Fritcher, Jessica Varnhagen, Alicia Stine, Eric Fritcher and Rachelle Craddock; 11 great-grandchildren and many cousins, nieces and nephews, as she was from a large family. She also leaves behind many friends.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and residents at The Homestead for their friendship. All of you became special to our mother.
There are pending plans for a memorial service in Olancha. In lieu of flowers, we would rather you make a contribution in her name to the Olancha, Cartago Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 64, Olancha, CA 93549 or the Churchill County Animal Protection Society, P.O. Box 5128 Fallon, NV 89407.