Former Forks resident, Frankie Jean Kennedy-Sordahl, 81, passed away due to complications during surgery on Friday, July 13, 2018, at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Frankie was born in Waynesville, North Carolina, to Frank and Mamie Styles on July 25, 1936.
Frankie is survived by her husband, Lamont “Buzz” Sordahl; her four children: Brad, Leslie (Mike) Noble, Bruce (Teresa) and Lyn (Huey) Simmons; 8 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; her three stepchildren Mark, Cindy and Scott Sordahl; her sister, Mary Reynolds; step sister, Louise (Ron) Wagner; her niece, Lonnie (Neal) Rigby; her three exchange children: Eduardo, Alfonso and Sergio Garcia — as well as numerous family, friends and former students. Frankie was preceded in death by her husband Earl L. Kennedy (1990), her parents, her stepfather Trig Rued, her brother-in-law Harry Reynolds and nephew Brien “Sam” Kennedy.
Frankie lived in North Carolina through eighth-grade. Her family then relocated to the Carlton/Yamhill area of Oregon, where she attended McMinnville High School through her junior year. She returned to North Carolina for her senior year, graduating from Hayesville High School in 1954. Shortly after graduating, her family settled in Forks, Washington.
She met Earl L. Kennedy and on Sept. 3, 1955 they were married and began to build a family together. Recently, Frankie shared that her fondest memories in life were those she and Earl spent raising their kids in Forks, and on their farm in Sappho. Over the years, Frankie embodied the role as matriarch. She had the instincts of nurturing, the aura of knowledge and wisdom, and the patience to be the mother of more than just her immediate family. The consummate mother, she was always where she was needed most – as a loving, supportive wife, and as a guiding, anchor of security for her children. She solved crises, taught personal responsibility, devotion and sacrifice, while sharing her boundless love for them. Everyone knew where they stood with Frankie, often through her wonderful humor and wit. She showed integrity daily, speaking the truth at home, in the community, among friends and at work.
Frankie joined the Quillayute Valley School District and worked full-time in a variety of secretarial positions for 25 years. She also worked for Thriftway during the summers.
She was more than a valuable, respected Forks High School staff member, she was an institution. She exuded that rare balance of firm discipline and unwavering love. Over the years, many of her students have reflected on her important role in holding them accountable, yet embracing them in love and a lasting belief in the value of their character. Throughout all of her tough love, she remained the strongest defender of her students, and was the one person they could rely on most to fight for them in their corner. Frankie’s legacy not only lives on through her family and friends, but also through the lives of all the students blessed to share the hallways of Forks High School, with her by their side.
After retirement, Frankie moved to Bullhead City, Arizona, where she met her second husband, Buzz. They were married on September 5, 2002. As avid gamblers, they could often be found across the river in Laughlin, Nevada, spending many entertaining hours in search of the big win. Frankie and Buzz returned to the Pacific Northwest last year, to be closer to family. They resided in Woodburn, Oregon, where they made many new friends at Country Meadows Village.
Frankie Kennedy-Sordahl lived a deeply rich and fulfilling life. Always loyal, always loving, always guiding and always loved by those around her, Frankie was first-and-foremost devoted to her family, and those in need. She always remembered where she came from, and highly valued her family, friends and former students through the years.
In lieu of gifts and flowers, please send donations to Forks Long-Term Care at Forks Hospital, 530 Bogachiel Way, Forks,WA 98331 and to Quillayute Valley School District, 411 S. Spartan Avenue, Forks, WA 98331 to help provide school supplies to children. A potluck Celebration-of-Life will be held on her behalf from 1 – 4 p.m., Saturday, September 8, 2018 at the Forks Elk Lodge. All those who knew Frankie are welcome to attend, and encouraged to share their stories of her wonderful life.