LaVon French Obituary

LaVon  French
LaVon French
LaVon French

November 6, 1930 - August 5, 2010
Born in Centralia, WA
Resided in Washington, DC
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The Honorable LaVon French was raised in Seattle, Washington, and came to Iowa to attend Graceland College. In the years that followed, she received a master's degree in English from Drake University and a law degree from Drake Law School, Class of 1975. After law school, she joined the Polk County Attorney's office and worked in the civil division for four years. Following this, she joined Congressman Neil Smith in Washington, D.C., as legislative counsel for the small business committee in the House of Representatives. In 1989, she was appointed by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to the Vaccine Division. She was one of the first eight members of the vaccine court, which provided compensation for children injured by vaccines. The court helped to promote further development in vaccines. She presided over and wrote decisions in more than 700 cases before her retirement in 2005.

She was a member of the Iowa Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. In recent years she was active in the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., and a member of P.E.O. Her hobbies included collecting seashells, mostly from Sanibel Island, and bird watching, keeping careful records of the birds she saw as she traveled throughout the world.

She enjoyed gardening, crossword puzzles, singing camp songs, reading mysteries, especially Dick Francis books, eating black licorice, and keeping score at baseball games. She loved movies of all sorts, especially Westerns, adventure movies and Charlie Chan. She was a dedicated tornado watcher, an adventuresome eater and traveler, and liked to whistle loudly at Redskins games.

A lifelong member of the RLDS church (since renamed the Community of Christ church), she taught adult church school and served as an Elder. She was married to Rev. Dr. Calvin French, who served pastorates for that church in Philadelphia, Boston, Des Moines, and, for the last 28 years, in Washington, D.C. An accomplished pianist and organist, she played for over 2, 000 worship services in those congregations.

She was born November 6th, 1930, in Centralia, Washington, of missionary parents, and passed away from complications related to Alzheimer's, a disease she fought for six years. She would have been 80 this coming November.

She is survived by her husband, Calvin, and her two children, Colin French of Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Kelsey French Bzdek of Washington, D.C.; her sister, Dr. Carol Baker of Independence, Missouri; and her four grandchildren.

Friends are invited and welcome to visit the family on Friday, August 13, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Dunn's Funeral Home, 2121 Grand Avenue.

Services will be held at the Community of Christ Church, 531 West Main Street, Lamoni, Iowa, at 11 a.m., Saturday, August 14, 2010 and burial will follow at the Rose Hill Cemetery. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Graceland University, c/o The LaVon French Scholarship Fund, One University Avenue, Lamoni, Iowa, 50140.





Dunn's Funeral Home
2121 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Friday, August 13, 2010
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Community of Christ Church in Lamoni
531 West Main Street
Lamoni, IA US 50140
Saturday, August 14, 2010
11:00 AM
Rose Hill Cemetery - Lamoni
Lamoni, IA
Saturday, August 14, 2010