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Frances Gertrude Friedhoff

At a glance:

Born: June 9, 1895
Died: March 8, 1958
Maiden name: Price
Race/nationality/ethnic background: Caucasian
Married: George W. Friedhoff
Children: one son
Primary county and city of residence and work: Yerington (Lyon)
Major fields of work: state government (appointed member, Nevada State Senate, state vocational education board), civic affairs (Red Cross), politics (Democratic national committeewoman), women's clubs (American Legion Auxiliary, Home Makers' Clubs of Nevada, Order of Eastern Star)
Other role identities: wife, mother, public speaker

Biography: Friedhoff image

Frances Gertrude Price was born at Stockton, CA on June 9, 1895, and came to Carson City at an early age. When quite young, her mother died and Frances was raised as a member of the family of then Governor R.K. Colcord. She received her early education in the schools of California, Oregon, and Nevada and later attended the University of Nevada.

She married George W. Friedhoff in 1912 and moved to Yerington where her husband was active in the construction business and operated several ranch properties. They had one son, George, Jr., who also attended the University of Nevada and then returned to live in Yerington. 

Her public activities were numerous. For the entire duration of World War I, Frances served upon the Council of Defense, Red Cross and as secretary of the Lyon County Four Minute Men.

Friedhoff represented agriculture and home economics upon the State Board of Vocational Education for twelve years. In 1921, she was appointed by President Harding as representative from Nevada and one of the sixteen women appointed throughout the United States to attend the Agricultural Conference called by the President to be held in Washington, DC.

In 1924 she was elected as a delegate from Nevada to the National Democratic Party convention in New York. From 1924 to 1928 she served as democratic national committeewoman for Nevada. 

Frances was elected the first State President of the Home Makers' Clubs of the Nevada State Farm Bureau, serving for two years and in 1928 was a member of the State Advisory Board for that organization. Later she was a member of the National Speakers' Bureau of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and attended several National Conventions.

She was a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Lyon County Unit #9, serving the local unit and department in every capacity.

Friedhoff served many stations during her years of membership in the Order of Eastern Star, culminating in her election as Worthy Grand Matron in June, 1928. She later made some observations regarding that year of service:

"...I have a picture which time can never dim, of smiling friendly faces, of wonderful courtesies extended, of work well done, of friendships formed...In the past years since my illness, many people have asked me if it were worth all the effort I had put into it. Yes, I feel it was indeed worth the price I paid - not because of the plaudits of the multitudes but for the deep down inside me satisfaction of knowing that I had given of my best at all times. One can never expect for long gratitude and appreciation from the outside to compensate oneself for the things they do for organizational work, for time will inevitably dim the public's memories, new people will step in to take the place of old friends and one is bound sooner or later to find oneself on the outside looking in. It is only by counting your pearls of precious memories that one can gain comfort and satisfaction from public work. 

"I have truly found it is never what one gets out of an organization but what one puts into it that really counts. If one puts in their best, then and then only can there be no regrets when day is done and one faces the setting of their sun."

In March, 1935, Frances' husband, in his third term as a State Senator representing Lyon County, resigned his position to accept a federal appointment as Nevada's Federal Housing Administrator. The following week, the Lyon County Commission appointed Frances to succeed him in his Senate post and she was sworn in on March 16 as the first woman to serve in the State Senate. 

A March 22 article in the Mason Valley News stated: "The list of ladies who have been elected to the Nevada Assembly and who have made fine records in that legislative body is quite long...It will be up to Mrs. Friedhoff to prove that a woman can be every bit as good a Senator as a man - and she will."

Her particular interest that session was in the advancement and betterment of rural schools. On being asked her stand on the pending assembly bill regarding the state assuming the medical and financial care of expectant mothers, she stated she favored any legislation which was beneficial to the welfare of womanhood. She would not state definitely her stand on any pending measures, but promised to act as much as possible in the way the people would have had her husband act. 

It should be noted that during that session of the Legislature, two women were serving in the Assembly: Mrs. Hazel Wines of Humboldt County and Mrs. Glenn E. Grier of White Pine County. Friedhoff became a semi-invalid in her later years which stopped her public appearances, but her Red Cross record in World War II showed that "many hours were spent working to be of use to the world."

Frances Gertrude Friedhoff died on March 8, 1958 in Reno and was buried in the Masonic section of Mountain View cemetery.

Biographical sketch by Jean Ford

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Sources of Information:

Curran, Evalin, comp., History of the Order of Eastern Star, State of Nevada, 1949.

Nevada State Journal, March 17, 1935.

Nevada State Journal, May 9, 1954.

Obituary, Nevada State Journal, March 9, 1958.

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