Saturday, November 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Woman's death stuns community

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Frances Kransberg could move.

With her back held straight and her eyes aimed through dark sunglasses, her white tennis shoes hit the pavement like nobody's business. The 82-year-old pushed a small metal cart in front of her that must have had problems keeping up with her.

Though Kransberg walked and bused around Bothell for nearly 20 years, most of the people who saw her probably never met her. Yet she was a tenacious and optimistic woman who managed to touch many lives.

"[She] was just one of those people where we didn't know their whole story," said Cathy Boorman, a friend and neighbor. "She seemed to be a very, very positive, independent soul."

Kransberg died this week after she was hit by a car as she stepped off a bus Sunday, just a few blocks away from her home in northwest Bothell.

She had been crossing two-lane Meridian Avenue South in the 23200 block. Traffic in one lane had already stopped to let her pass, but she apparently didn't look for traffic in the other lane, police said. She was struck by a car driven by a 58-year-old Bothell woman, police said.

The driver hit the brakes and swerved but did not have time to avoid a collision, police said. She was not cited.

Kransberg died the next day at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Word of her death spread this week among her friends and neighbors, and among shopkeepers and others in the community who knew her or recognized her, even if they didn't know her last name.

A group of neighbors this week traded stories of the walks their families used to share with their elderly neighbor, or the times they waved to her, or gave her rides home in the rain.

"Everybody knew who she was," said neighbor Heather Cook. "They were just stunned and shocked" at her death.

Kransberg had four daughters, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She moved to the Seattle area in 1987 from Salem, Mass., where she was born and raised her family, said her daughter, Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi.

She was married to John Kransberg for 30 years before divorcing in the late 1970s.

Kransberg-Talvi, a prominent Seattle violinist, said her mother instilled a love of music in her children. Kransberg often watched concerts of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, where Kransberg-Talvi is concertmaster. And neighbors said they enjoyed the sounds of a violin or cello coming from Kransberg's home.

Kransberg chose to live in a Bothell neighborhood full of young families, her daughter said. But she didn't want to trouble them so they could live their own lives.

"Her basic attitude was youthful, so she loved her neighbors," Kransberg-Talvi said. "She really did — from a respectful distance."

Kransberg took no medications and had no health problems, her daughter said.

"She was so appreciative that she was 82 years old and able to do everything," she said.

Her family held a graveside service yesterday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Northwest Chamber Orchestra or any other charity.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company


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