On September 4, 2021, Frank Shride (Franklin Ellsworth Shride) passed away in Orting, Washington. He was five months shy of his 99th birthday.
Frank was born in Emden, Missouri, on January 31, 1923, to Dale and Nancy Shride. He was the fourth child in a large family, which consisted of an additional nine brothers and sisters, including two sets of twins three years apart. The family lived in Missouri until 1927 when they moved to Nebraska.
In early June of 1937, the family loaded all they owned and piled into a 1928 Dodge automobile, towing a beat-up chicken coop on a handmade trailer chassis, and traveled almost 3,000 miles from Nebraska to a dock in Tacoma, Washington, where they were ferried to Vashon Island, leaving the destruction of the dust bowls behind them.
After the family settled on Vashon Island, the children were enrolled in school. Frank and his brother, Richard, completed high school on Vashon Island and graduated in 1939. After high school, Frank worked at various jobs and then, in 1942, volunteered for the U.S. Army. He was sworn in on November 8, 1942. He spent the duration of his World War II years on Adak Island, Alaska, in the Signal Corp. (Two of his brothers were also in the service: Richard served in the Marine Corp and Donald served in the Navy.)
Before being deployed, Frank married (Hazel) Marie Therkelsen in December 1942. They raised five children and two foster children on Vashon.
Frank worked at Beall’s Greenhouse for 43 years. He started out working at local gas stations, but then got a job in the rose department and then moved to the orchid department. Frank was instrumental in growing many hybrid orchids and was soon recognized for his accomplishments. Frank traveled and spoke internationally: South Africa, Germany, England, Australia, and New Zealand. He also spoke in most major cities in the United States. He soon was an accomplished — and much sought after — speaker for orchid societies all over the world. He received international recognition and numerous awards for his work.
In 1985 the Beall Company’s orchid department was sold to Frank, who had been managing it, and Ed Diamond, a businessman from Seattle. It was called The Beall Orchid Company. After 40-plus years in the orchid field, Frank decided to retire in 1993.
Frank dabbled in real estate after that. In his younger years, he picked, packed and sold peaches from the orchard on his property on Morgan Hill. He was an active man and had many diverse interests. He loved spending time on his boat. He loved hunting, fishing, water skiing, bowling, golfing and dancing. He also coached Little League baseball when his sons, Michael and Bradley, were playing. His favorite thing, however, was playing practical jokes on his friends.
On June 22, 1972, Frank married the former Ruth Ann Taggart and they became a blended family with nine children, some of whom were married and starting families of their own. After several more years on Vashon Island, Frank and Ruth moved off the Island and lived in Des Moines, Kirkland, Orting, and finally settled in Sumner, Washington. In 2018 Ruth passed away surrounded by a loving family. Frank moved back to Orting, where he lived until his death.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, all siblings but his youngest sister, who was one of the two sets of twins, and passed away in May, 2022, and his foster son.
Frank is survived by his children: Carolyn Wingfield, Tanya Michaels (Larry Smalley), Michael Shride, Bradley Shride (Amy Griswold) and Kimberley Shride; and by his step-children: Patrick Taggart (Connie), Mike Taggart (Debbie), Erin Van Loan (Patrick) and Shannon Taggart. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews.
A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the cemetery on Vashon Island, Washington. All are welcome to attend