Francine ‘Franke’ DeBevoise, 87, Portraitist

Long time Lebanon resident Franke DeBevoise passed away February 8, surrounded by her family, from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease at Sanatoga Court in Pottstown, PA. She had been compassionately cared for there by the wonderful people in the dementia unit for over two years.

She was born Lorraine Francine Pidgeon on March 27, 1929 in Northport, Long Island, NY to Harold and Alice Conklin Pidgeon.  She lost her father to an auto accident at the age of seven and was raised under difficult circumstances by a widowed mother during the depression. During her formative years she frequently lived with the family of her best friend, Rolly Searight, who survives her in their hometown. She graduated from Northport High School in 1947 where she was a member of The National Honor Society.

She enrolled at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY where she later met her future husband Kenneth H. DeBevoise, Jr.  She graduated in 1951 and they were married on July 4, 1952. In 1954 they settled in Bogota, Bergen County, where they raised their children, Mark and Jill. She began to paint in the 50’s after putting the kids to bed. She became so engrossed late at night that she had to be convinced to put down the brushes and get some sleep.

Franke was an accomplished portrait artist for over 50 years. She studied initially with Helen Van Wyck and Paul Ortlip in NJ and later at The Art Students League in Manhattan under preeminent artists E. Raymond Kinstler, William Draper and John Howard Sandler, all presidential portraitists. She was on the board and a Lifetime Member of the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club and a member of The National Arts Club, both in New York City. Her work can be found in courthouses, colleges and corporate offices and in many private collections. In her later life she took great pleasure in portraying Native Americans in their traditional regalia.

Franke was deeply committed to her family, and in the words of her grandson, “She always saw the best in people and never spoke an ill word of anyone. She taught us all by example how to be kind and compassionate.” She is survived by her son Mark of Willow Grove, PA, her daughter Jill Noble (Hank), grandchildren Jacqueline Mitchell (Adrian) of Pottstown, PA  and Bradley Sudol of Philadelphia, and great grandchildren Mekhi and Tyven Mitchell.

A Memorial Service will be held at Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home in Lebanon on Saturday February 18, visitation 10AM to 11AM, Service 11AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 3 Eves Drive, Marlton, NJ 08053 or ALZ.org